YOU SHOULD KNOW: About The Groovy History Of Kitsilano’s Iconic “Naam” Eatery

October 23, 2012.

by Stevie Wilson | We’re often inclined to forget that the buildings, spaces, and events that impact our lives (or don’t) had tremendous effects on those who experienced them before us -especially if these places are still in use. One example of this divide between our past and present notions of Vancouver are the food choices we face every day. You may take that veggie-dog-wrapped-in-cheesy-bread for granted, but just think of how noteworthy vegetarian meal options would have been in 1969.

As a case study for changing attitudes towards “rabbit food”, the Naam on West 4th presents a unique cultural keystone that has aided in establishing both a community and a lifestyle for many Vancouverites. Founded in 1970 (or ‘68 depending on who you ask) on the principles of natural, animal-free cuisine influenced by Eastern philosophies and traditions, the Naam Café opened at 2722 West 4th (later 2724) in a space that had previously housed a fish & chips shop, a coffee bar, and a laundromat, among other businesses. Entering this busy district as a small eatery, the Naam would eventually take on many names and forms, including Naam Restaurant in 1980, Naam Store Grocery in 1982, and finally Naam Natural Food Restaurant in 1985. It’s said that the founders and followers of the Naam’s food movement were inspired by the teachings of guru Kirpal Singh, whose eponymous work translates from the Sanskrit for ‘’Name’’. Earlier followers of Singh, and devotees of the associated Surat Shabd Yoga, had previously opened a small Georgia Street café called God’s Little Kitchen.

As our city’s oldest natural food spot (not to be confused with the first vegetarian restaurant, a distinction that belongs to the nearby Golden Lotus Natural Foods in 1967), there’s a rich cultural history entrenched in the walls of this former 1930’s silk shoppe, one that continues to define and be re-defined by new generations. When Golden Lotus, which offered a Buddha’s Feast for 50 cents, shut its doors in the early ‘70s, enlightened flower children were drawn to the new restaurant on Rainbow Road – conveniently opened by a former cook of Golden Lotus – in droves, effectively creating a new mecca for counter-culture enthusiasts who were shunned by other establishments. Situated amongst other spiritually-focused shops such as Banyen Books (born out of a reading corner in Golden Lotus), Lifestream, and Nature’s Path, the community for Vancouver’s young eco-conscious population was vibrant. Anti-war activists, hippies, would-be Greenpeace members and more gathered at the Naam to discuss, eat, and live life in tune with tofu.

In addition to offering what one researcher aptly referred to as “stoner food”, the Naam’s menu has evolved over the years to feature vegan options as well as macrobiotic dishes, and caters to a wide variety of vegetarians, non-vegetarians, and hungry UBC students alike. Being one of the only 24hr spots in the city, it boasts a philosophy and atmosphere that hasn’t changed much over the years save for the influx of younger servers, who may or may not be under the same influences as their predecessors.

——————————————————————————————-

Stevie Wilson is an historian masquerading as a writer. After serving as an editor for the UBC History Journal, she’s decided to branch out with a cryptic agenda: encouraging the people of Vancouver to take notice of their local history and heritage with You Should Know, a Scout column that aims to show you the things that you already see. Just nod your head and pretend you’re paying attention.

——————————————————————————————-

#ScoutThis

There are no comments

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You Should Know Local histories and mysteries...

YOU SHOULD KNOW | About The Many Weird Visions Of Vancouver That Never Came To Be

YOU SHOULD KNOW | About The Many Weird Visions Of Vancouver That Never Came To Be

by Christine Hagemoen | Vancouver, like all cities, is constantly evolving. Buildings come down, buildings go up. Neighbourhoods change. Over the years… more 

YOU SHOULD KNOW | About The Old Building That’s Now Home To Andina Brewing Company

YOU SHOULD KNOW | About The Old Building That’s Now Home To Andina Brewing Company

by Christine Hagemoen | One of my favourite things to do on a weekend afternoon combines my love of craft beer with my love of local history. This often takes… more 

YOU SHOULD KNOW | All About The Sidewalk Stamps Still Spelling Out Vancouver’s History

YOU SHOULD KNOW | All About The Sidewalk Stamps Still Spelling Out Vancouver’s History

1906 date stamp on an early sidewalk at Hastings & Richards (City of Vancouver Archives - CVA 677-584) by Christine Hagemoen | As someone who commutes… more 

YOU SHOULD KNOW | About The ‘Easter Be-In’ That Occurred In Vancouver 50 Years Ago

YOU SHOULD KNOW | About The ‘Easter Be-In’ That Occurred In Vancouver 50 Years Ago

by Christine Hagemoen | Yesterday - Sunday, March 26th, 2017 - marked the 50th anniversary of the first “Be-In” held in Vancouver. The event marked a huge… more 

YOU SHOULD KNOW | About The Piece Of Vancouver History That Just Sold For A Song

YOU SHOULD KNOW | About The Piece Of Vancouver History That Just Sold For A Song

by Christine Hagemoen | Vancouver’s oldest wood-frame commercial structure - the subject of a famous Fred Herzog photograph (below, then and now) - is… more 

YOU SHOULD KNOW | About Groundbreaking Eleanor Collins, The City’s ‘First Lady Of Jazz’

YOU SHOULD KNOW | About Groundbreaking Eleanor Collins, The City’s ‘First Lady Of Jazz’

by Christine Hagemoen | I think everyone in Vancouver should know about Eleanor Collins. Some of you may already know and admire the glorious singer, but I… more 

YOU SHOULD KNOW | About The ‘Bottle Dash’ Houses That Still Glitter In The Vancouver Sun

YOU SHOULD KNOW | About The ‘Bottle Dash’ Houses That Still Glitter In The Vancouver Sun

by Christine Hagemoen | You have passed them a thousand times and not even noticed. Then one sunny winter day a glint of light catches your eye. Why is that… more 

YOU SHOULD KNOW | Our City Streets Were Once Paved With These Little Wooden Blocks

YOU SHOULD KNOW | Our City Streets Were Once Paved With These Little Wooden Blocks

by Christine Hagemoen | Right beside the historic 106-year-old Patricia Hotel on the Downtown Eastside lies a remnant of Vancouver’s “lumber town” past… more 

The scout Community

49th Parallel Coffee Roasters & Lucky’s Doughnuts Acorn Agrius Ai & Om Alibi Room Ancora Waterfront Dining & Patio Anh and Chi AnnaLena Araxi Arbor Ask For Luigi Au Comptoir Bao Bei Chinese Brasserie Bar Oso Bauhaus Beach Bay Café & Patio Beaucoup Bakery & Cafe Bel Café Bestie Bishop’s Bistro Wagon Rouge Bittered Sling Blue Water Cafe + Raw Bar Botanist Bottleneck Boulevard Kitchen & Oyster Bar Bufala Burdock & Co. Cabrito Cacao Cadeaux Bakery Café Medina Caffè Artigiano Camp Lifestyle + Coffee Co. Campagnolo Campagnolo ROMA Cartems Donuterie Chambar Chefs’ Table Society of BC Chez Christophe Chocolaterie Patisserie  Chicha Chill Winston ChocolaTas Chocolate Arts Cibo Trattoria Cinara CinCin Ristorante + Bar Cioffi’s Cioppino’s Mediterranean Grill Cocktails & Canapes Catering + Events Cook Culture Culinary Capers Catering & Special Events Dirty Apron Cooking School & Delicatessen District Brasserie Dixie’s Authentic Texas BBQ Earnest Ice Cream East Van Roasters Cafe Edible Canada El Santo Elementa Espana Fable Fanny Bay Farmer’s Apprentice Fat Mao Fayuca Fernwood Coffee Company Field & Social Forage Giovane Cafe + Eatery Gotham Steakhouse & Bar Grain Granville Island Grapes & Soda Greenhorn Espresso Bar Gyoza Bar Hart House Restaurant Harvest Community Foods Hawksworth Restaurant Heirloom Heritage Asian Eatery Homer Street Cafe & Bar Hy’s Steakhouse Irish Heather Jamjar JJ Bean Joe Pizza Joy Road Catering Juice Truck Juke Fried Chicken Juniper Kafka’s Coffee & Tea Keefer Bar Kin Kao Kissa Tanto Knifewear Kozakura Kuma Tofino L’Abattoir La Buca La Mezcaleria La Pentola La Quercia La Taqueria Pinche Taco Shop Les Amis du Fromage Lions Pub, The Liquidity Bistro Lobby Lounge + RawBar Longtail Kitchen Lucha Verde Made By Pacific Maenam Mak N Ming Mamie Taylor’s MARKET by Jean-Georges Matchstick Coffee Roasters Meinhardt Fine Foods Miku Restaurant Milano Coffee Minami Miradoro Mission Mister Mogiana Coffee Mosquito Nero Belgian Waffle Bar Nicli Antica Pizzeria Nightingale Nomad Nook Nuba Oakwood Canadian Bistro OLO OPUS Bar Osteria Savio Volpe Oyama Sausage Co. Pallet Coffee Roasters Pat’s Pub & BrewHouse Pidgin Pizzeria Farina Pointe Restaurant at the Wickaninnish Inn, The Pourhouse Railtown Cafe Railtown Catering Rain Or Shine Ice Cream Red Wagon, The Revolver Coffee Rocky Mountain Flatbread Co. Royal Dinette Salt Tasting Room Savoury Chef Shaughnessy Restaurant Shebeen Whisk(e)y House Shelter Six Acres Sophie’s Cosmic Cafe Sorella Stable House, The Tableau Bar Bistro Tacofino Tavola Terra Breads Thierry Thomas Haas Chocolates & Patisserie Timber Timbertrain Coffee Roasters Torafuku Tractor Foods Truffles Fine Foods Two Rivers Specialty Meats UBC Farm Uncommon Cafe, The Urban Digs Farm Uva Wine & Cocktail Bar Vancouver Aquarium’s Ocean Wise™ Program Via Tevere Pizzeria Napoletana Vij’s Restaurant Virtuous Pie West Restaurant Wildebeest Wolf In The Fog YEW seafood

Lorem Ipsum is simply dummy text of the printing and typesetting industry. Lorem Ipsum has been the industry's standard dummy text ever since the 1500s, when an unknown printer took a galley of type and scrambled it to make a type specimen book. It has survived not only five centuries, but also the leap into electronic typesetting, remaining essentially unchanged. It was .

Lorem Ipsum is simply dummy text of the printing and typesetting industry. Lorem Ipsum has been the industry's standard dummy text ever since the 1500s, when an unknown printer took a galley of type and scrambled it to make a type specimen book. It has survived not only five centuries, but also the leap into electronic typesetting, remaining essentially unchanged. It was .