by Stevie Wilson | In 1931 the Shell Oil Company opened this auto garage at 231 East Pender St. – it’s 20th location in the province – as the Lion’s Gate Service Station. The tucked-away business was originally run by Thomas Chang, whose name will be recognized by Chinatown history buffs as the son of Chang Toy – more commonly known as Sam Kee. Chang passed away in 1953, and the business was transferred to H.H. Leong who renamed it Henry’s Service Station. In 1959, Max Goldberg Supply Ltd, a nearby business located at 424 Main St., bought the building and continued to operate it as Henry’s until it closed in the 1970s. The company continued to use it as a storage facility until 1989. The Goldberg family had significant ties to the Strathcona and Chinatown neighbourboods; in addition to their 50-year commercial tenure, Max’s son, Harry Goldberg, sat on the Chinatown Planning Committee for many years.
Today, the building is in extreme disrepair and is already slated for demolition to make way for a new condominium project, but under the filth and graffiti remains a long-forgotten piece of Downtown Eastside history. Look closely and you’ll notice the structure’s unique Chinese-inspired architectural elements, including a curved hip roof, carved brackets in the bay corners, and similarly rounded rafter details along the exterior. In 1933, an additional fifth bay was opened on the eastern side of the station; the slightly wider design and more intact construction is still discernible. The parking lot’s uneven plane indicates where a gas pump island once sat, which also explains why the structure is set so far back in the lot. Much of this area is quickly disappearing in the wake of the G-Word, so keep an eye out for this and other forgotten sites while you still can.
The GOODS from Pidgin
Vancouver, BC | Proving two is better than one, Gastown’s Pidgin announces Before and After Dark happy hour specials. Guests are invited to sip and savour during two nightly opportunities: from 5:00pm to 6:30pm, then resuming for evening tipples from 10:30pm until late.
On the list before and after dark are classic cocktails crafted in expert style by Pidgin’s top bartending team; watch for Old Fashioneds, Negronis, Daiquiris, Margaritas, Manhattans, and Moscow Mules, all priced at a refreshing $6.50 each. Glasses of red and white wine are $6, and Tiger tall can beers are $5. Pidgin’s daily food specials will be offered alongside beverages, for a perfect pairing that’s twice as nice. Read more
by Andrew Morrison | As a summer project, my eldest son James and I have been walking around the city with a copy of Fred Herzog Photographs (Douglas & McIntyre, 2011) and trying to shoot the exact locations where the master framed up his most iconic shots. It’s a book that we both love because a lot of the pictures were taken really close to our house in Strathcona and all around the Downtown Eastside. Because of our familiarity with the territory, most of the locations have been easy to pick out. Others are proving far more difficult because much of what was once there is no more. Truly, working on this has really brought home how dramatic the changes to this city have been over the last 50-60 years. And yet, in some places, it’s uncanny how it has remained largely the same. There’s plenty of summer left and a lot more Herzog haunts to explore, so expect the gallery below – complete with higher resolution side-by-sides and descriptive captions – to expand.
THE PEOPLE WHO MAKE IT HAPPEN
Dan Olson – Executive Chef / Partner
Tyler Day – Chef / Partner
Marli Anderson – Director, Operations and Events
ABOUT RAILTOWN CAFE
The up and coming district of Railtown, home to entrepreneurs, designer businesses and chic professionals, has adopted a hot little lunch spot called Railtown Café. In the heart of this commercial neighbourhood, just east of Gastown, Chefs Dan Olson and Tyler Day are dishing up the best of their combined international experiences, sharing their passion for everything food and drink.
The 35 hour smoked beef brisket and pork shoulder, served in sandwiches and on salads, have become neighbourhood favourites, along with the build-your-own salad bar, and the newest addition – handmade ice cream served in cones or take home containers. Treat yourself to a well-crafted selection of house-baked breads, artisan pastries, local beers, and cold pressed juices, or pop in on BBQ Fridays for a heaping plate of varied meats off the 12-foot smoker grill.
The design of the café is rustic and modern with antique chairs, locally built tabletops and customized wallpaper filled with chicken scratched chef notes. Look closely and you may find a few secrets to help with your next culinary adventure.
Having a special event? Whether a corporate lunch, an intimate gathering or a massive gala, Railtown’s catering division promises a refined, first class event with customized menus and an elite service staff. Experienced event planners can assist you with every detail.
Railtown Café and Catering is built around an extraordinary team of industry professionals and fosters a sense of community for its customers and staff. Come visit us between 8 a.m. and 6 p.m. Monday to Friday. There’s no shortage of warm smiles and quality ingredients, so get to the café early before the noon hour rush.
PRESS & ACCOLADES
Vanfoodster – “Hidden in the heart of Railtown which is off the beaten track just East of Gastown. This is a go to spot for an amazing lunch.”
JelgerandTania.com – Feature interview
CTV News Vancouver – Oscar Party Dishes Feature
Vancouverscape.com – Railtown Cafe Chefs head up Canada’s Bocuse D’Or Team
BCLiving.ca – “Railtown is what happens when a bunch of world class chefs… play around in a test kitchen with sous-vide prep methods. The result is a sophisticated yet simple cafe menu.”
Raitown Cafe at Bocuse D’or: Dan Olson – Coach 2013, Apprentice 1999
You, Scout reader, have good taste. We’ve always known this, and we mean to take advantage of it. We want your help in refining our HOODS MAP so that we can keep steering locals and visitors alike to the best of our place in the world. There are five different geo-specific questions that we need answers to. We’ve done the initial curatorial leg-work of narrowing down the options to a shortlist, but we need you to finish the job.
What’s your favourite escape on the North Shore? Is it Dundarave Beach, Lighthouse Park, Grouse Mountain, Whytecliff Park, Capilano River Regional Park, or the Maplewood Conservation Area?
VOTE for your pick (and see results) on our North Shore page.
Which restaurant serves up the best burger in all of Vancouver? Is it Hawksworth, Mamie Taylor’s, Cannibal Cafe, Pourhouse, Oakwood, or Campagnolo Upstairs?
Which Yaletown eatery offers the best patio experience? Is it Blue Water Cafe, Minami, Cioppino’s, Brix, GoodWolfe, or the Homer St. Cafe?
VOTE for your pick (and view results) on our Yaletown page.
What’s your favourite place for a beer on the DTES? Is it The Astoria, The Patricia, Alibi Room, No. 5 Orange, Bitter Tasting Room, or Dunlevy Snackbar?
VOTE for your pick (and see results) on our DTES page.
Your favourite dish in Hastings-Sunrise? Is it the Fundido Tater Tots at Tacofino, the Reuben sandwich at Red Wagon, the Spaghetti Carbonara at Campagnolo Roma, the Mujadarrah at Tamam, the Laksa at Laksa King, or the Patty Melt at The Slocan?
VOTE for your pick (and see results) on our Hastings-Sunrise page.
by Andrew Morrison | Dormant 441 Gore Street in Chinatown is about to get its first tenant in many years. The space, which used to house a Chinese grocery way back in the day, will become “Snack City” at the end of the month, a 1,000 sqft victualling station offering everything from smokes, candy, organic produce, coffee, and Cartem’s Donuts to locally made jewelry, ceramics, art books, and vintage porn zines. It’s coming to the neighbourhood courtesy of Celia Hamilton, who has a background in film industry catering, and Aisha Davidson, lately of Community Thrift & Vintage. Though the interior still has a ways to go before it’s ready, it’s clearly a neat little box of potential. Take a look at some photos after the jump… Read more
You, Scout reader, have good taste. We’ve always known this, but we don’t often take advantage of it. This new feature changes that. From here on in, we want your help in refining our HOODS MAP so that we can keep steering locals and visitors alike to the best of our place in the world. There are five different geo-specific questions that we need answers to this month. We’ve done the initial curatorial leg-work of narrowing down the options to a shortlist, but we need you to finish the job.
VOTE for your pick (and view results) on our OKANAGAN page.
VOTE for your pick (and view results) on our ISLANDS page.
The GOODS from Bitter Tasting Room
Vancouver, BC | After adding some new beer taps to their line-up and updating their savoury offerings, Bitter Tasting Room is pleased to announce the debut of their new menu, which continues to pair some of the best local and imported beers with tasty bar fare and some unbeatable specials including all you can eat taco Tuesday’s’ and $5 sleeves.
Inspired by the golden age of beer culture in Vancouver, a time before Prohibition put the breaks on brewing, and lagers, ales, and bitters flowed freely, Bitter Tasting Room embraces the craftsmanship of this age-old beverage.
An extensive beer list offers variants from some of the great brewing regions around the world by the bottle and a selection of local craft brews on draft. Of their 13 rotating beer taps, four are dedicated to Vancouver breweries to highlight the expert brewmasters at work right in our own backyard. The remaining nine showcase some of the many other West Coast breweries. The list largely represents BC, but also introduces a few standout beers from across the border.
Enjoy the diversity of the beer selection with a flight of three to seven draft choices to help you find your favourite. Or share the experience over a growler and some bar snacks. These old fashion jugs stand in for the classic pitcher and the updated food menu offers an assortment of bites to pair with your beverage.
The savoury food menu is designed to compliment the expertly crafted beverage list and the newly added dishes continue to do just that. Whether sipping a crisp pilsner, a smooth porter or a fragrant IPA, there is an item on the menu made to pair perfectly with those flavours. Some of the classic favourites are still featured, while a few new tastes spice things up. The popular Scotch Egg and Kale Caesar Salad remain, as does the Handmade Pretzel, while the new Chili Dog is loaded with hearty chilli. The Tacos are new and in high demand, served on soft corn tortillas with four options – the Chili Taco, Sea Taco, Pork Taco and Falafel Taco – offering something for every preference and the perfect beer & food paring.
And while a classic glass of beer is the Bitter beverage of choice, an assortment of spirits, two Okanogan Crush Pad wines on tap, and some unique beer cocktails complete the beverage list.
Whether sharing the dining experience with friends or meeting new ones at the bar, the debut of this new menu reaffirms that Bitter Tasting Room is a friendly space to enjoy a quality beer and a comforting bite to eat. Stop in to enjoy some of the new specials, with All You Can Eat Taco Tuesdays and $5 Sleeves of Dead Frog, $5 Sleeves of Mission Springs on Wednesdays, and Thursday’s offer up three Tacos and a Beer for $14. Read more
The GOODS from THE SETTLEMENT
Vancouver, BC | Vancouver Urban Winery and Belgard Kitchen are looking for some great people to join the growing team at The Settlement Building in Railtown. We’re looking for outgoing, passionate and hard working front of house team members including management, hostesses, part-time servers and support staff. We are specifically looking for a full/part-time evening manager, a weekend brunch manager, full/part-time hostesses & bussers/expos, and a part-time server. Please email your resumes to info [at] settlementbuilding.com. Read more
The GOODS from Pidgin
Vancouver, BC | PiDGiN is on the lookout for a line cook to join their talented and tight knit back-of-house team. Candidates must be innovative, hard-working and able to endure long hours, and have a passion for plating high-quality French-Asian cuisine. Requirements include a culinary school background or previous experience working the line in a fast-paced restaurant. We only put the best behind our stoves! Want to join the Pidgin team? Submit your application in confidence to resumes [at] pidginyvr.com. Learn more about the restaurant after the jump… Read more
First years are tough for restaurants in Vancouver, where the market is over-saturated and the costs involved are prohibitively high. We mention this (the utterly obvious) because we were cleaning up our photo galleries earlier today and saw that it was the first birthday of Cuchillo, the Latin-flavoured DTES eatery on Powell St. from John Cooper and chef Stu Irving (pictured above). Like nearby Pidgin, they didn’t have the smoothest of starts on account of anti-gentrification activists picketing their front door, but they kept their heads down and concentrated on the things they could control, namely the service of quality food and drink (the protests backfired, handing both restaurants legions of new diners who thought abusing small businesses was an ill-considered response to a complex issue). The photos below reveal how much work went into the build. And so, with that and a sudden craving for battered rockfish tacos, we wish them a very happy birthday!
The GOODS from Les Amis Du Fromage
Vancouver, BC | Les Petits Bonheurs started as a bakery concept between two good friends who share a love of sweets and desserts. They specialise in classic French desserts, specifically choux à la crème (cream puffs). Les Petits Bonheurs sources all of their staples locally and try to source the best ingredients for the flavour components (matcha, pistachio, fresh lemons etc) and do not use preservatives. They make everything by hand to coax out the best texture and flavour. Their treats are made on a smaller scale, that way you can always have more than one! Drop by our East Vancouver les amis du FROMAGE on Saturday July 5th between Noon and 5pm, and indulge yourself in this “little piece of happiness”. Read more
The GOODS from Big Lou’s
Vancouver, BC | Big Lou’s Butcher Shop is pleased to announce the arrival of a shipment of fantastic, 55-day dry aged Certified BC Beef from the Horn Family Ranch outside 100 Mile House. These humanely-raised, unmedicated cattle are grazed on the natural pasture in the ranchlands around 100 Mile House and raised without hormones or antibiotics.
While most beef is butchered before dry-aging, this beef is uniquely dry aged as a full carcass allowing for a longer dry aging process – 55 days – and ultimate taste and tenderness. Big Lou’s Butcher Shop is offering a wide range of cuts, including strip loins, sirloins, and more.
The Horn family has long history of ranching in the 100 Mile House area dating back to the 1940s when Chris and Helen Horn founded the ranch. Much later on, the Gregg family moved to 100 Mile House and Karl Gregg of Big Lou’s vividly remembers standing next to the fence as a child, impressed at the size of the cattle grazing in the next farm over. Who could guess at the time that years later, Karl would be stocking Horn Family beef in his own butcher shop? Read more
by Shaun Layton | “The Brickhouse? Wait, where’s that?” That’s the reply you’d likely get if you mentioned one of my favourite dive bars in the city. Still, on occasion, you might just get an enthusiastic “I fucking love that place!” in response. And for good reason.
The Brickhouse, located on Main St. between East Georgia and Union, has been pouring beer and whiskey to DTES, Chinatown, and Strathcona locals for around 25 years. It’s definitely one of my “go to” spots for an after work solo pint, a game of pool with the lads, or a stop on the list if I’m touring out-of-town industry friends around town.
When you walk in on busy nights you’re greeted by a hostess at the front door. On slow nights, you can enter through the back in the alley by the Jimi Hendrix shrine. Old brick arches carry you through the cavernous space through to the main room, where you’ll be delighted by the character bar. Expect big fish tanks, lava lamps, shitty old red couches, pool tables, dart boards — it’s pure magic. One should never be bored sitting in this spot; the walls are covered with so much nostalgia. I’m not sure what the space used to be, but let’s hope it’ll never be anything else. It has such an interesting layout.
The atmosphere is incredible during either busy or slow, and the service is as adequate and genuine as it needs to be (as sure a sign of a great bar as there is). I recently visited a new self-styled “neighbourhood dive” and experienced quite the opposite. The place was empty (early on a Sunday) and the cool kid staffers couldn’t have cared less about the four guests in the bar. Service was non-existent. But perhaps that’s what they were going for, that whole “you should be honoured to be in such a cool bar” vibe. Alas, this isn’t Bushwick, or whatever part of Brooklyn they were trying so hard to emulate. That shit doesn’t fly in Vancouver.
That being said, a good dive bar should never be concerned with doing anything especially well, except keeping glasses full, music flowing, and me (the customer) coming back. The Brickhouse does exactly that, all while being laid-back and completely unpretentious. The two bartenders I’ve encountered are a younger lady who’s been there for over 8 years, and the owner, “Leo”, whose reputation precedes him in industry circles. Both are great bartenders, but only one is a legend.
The younger lady is very friendly, remembers what you drink, and keeps ‘em coming. Leo, one the other hand, is just something else altogether; a three-way cross between Seattle’s favourite bartender, Murray Stenson (pouring for over 30 years), a very regimented and stern blackjack dealer, and the soup nazi. Leo epitomizes efficiency; he doesn’t even look like he’s moving that fast (he isn’t), but every move he makes is calculated and with purpose. He just gets things done. On a Friday night, watching this guy take orders from the weekend warriors is something else!
I prefer the place early week, and so should you. On a quiet Sunday you’ll find locals reading books, out-of-towers (who must have cool friends who told them about it), and industry staff enjoying their “weekend”, such as they are. A B & T crowd kinda spoils the joint on Fridays and Saturdays, but that’s true of most places worth going to city-wide.
Oh, I nearly forgot! The food. A great selection of bags of chips is on offer here; my favourite being a bag of Cheezies to go with my Pacifico. It’s the perfect combo as I wind down after work, listening to the oldies rock ‘n roll soundtrack. If you haven’t been before, bring only your worthy friends, and don’t tell too many people. Places like The Brickhouse need to stick around!
Shaun Layton has helped to maintain a top notch bar scene in Vancouver for ten years, and since day one at Gastown’s L’Abattoir, where he is the Bar Manager. He also runs his own consulting company, designing bar programs and training staff locally and as far away as St.John’s, NFLD. Layton has competed and travelled throughout the USA and Europe, touring distilleries, breweries and bars. He was recognized in 2012 as the Bartender of The Year by Vancouver Magazine.