by Andrew Morrison | It’s high time we provided an update on the highly anticipated Bestie at 105 East Pender St. in Chinatown. We first reported on its coming a year ago this week, and we’re happy to say that the 25 seat German-themed sausage and beer joint from Clinton McDougall and Dane Brown is well on its way. They’ve hammered down a menu of Thuringian sausages (pork) that will include brats and currywurst, plus a rotating poultry sausage and a special or two. The good folks at Oyama are making them, but execution is in the hands of chef Colin Johnson, who worked in Andrey Durbach’s kitchens for upwards of a decade. The fries will be hand-cut BC potatoes, double fried and served with a little metal pommesgabel (literally “French Fry Fork”), and the beers will be German-inspired but locally brewed (4 on tap with several others in bottle format). As you can see in one of the images above, the tapped beers can be had in 8oz, 12oz, or monstrous 24oz pours, the latter to be enjoyed from proper ceramic steins! David Stansfield, who you might know from Vancouver Urban Winery, is in charge of the tiny wine program. He has one red and one white cheap and cheerful planned for taps and tumblers, with a few supplemental bottles, all containing German varietals. The only spirit sold at Bestie will be schnapps. Because jawohl!
As far as the aesthetic goes, it’s worth remembering that Dane and Clinton come to the food trade from the design world, so they’ve considered the look as much as they have the sausages. It’s going to be on the bright side, with wooded paneling lit by high gloss white floors and white walls. Much of the seating will be convertible. A series of “booths” along the long wall facing the kitchen bar can readily be modified so that they become one large table, and above these booths will be an ever-changing canvas of wooden pegs. There are 116 holes in the wall to accommodate them, so expect to see hanging lights, magazines, and probably a jacket or two suspended above the modular booths. There’s also a sweet corner table at the front window that folds up so that sausages can be sold through the window deep into the night (hello Fortune revellers!). The rear wall will see rotating works from local artists (overseen by an obligatory cuckoo clock), and I suspect that we might hear some 1980’s Grauzone leading what I hope will be a chiefly German soundtrack. Dane and Clinton are doing nearly all the construction work themselves, with guidance from David Scott of local architecture firm Scott & Scott (recent recipients of some Cool Hunting love).
Because of its close proximity to the Scout office, I see a lot of currywurst in my future. Opening day, which can’t come soon enough, is on track for the early June.
Andrew Morrison is the editor-in-chief of Scout and BC’s Senior Judge at the Canadian Culinary Championships. He contributes regularly to a wide range of publications, radio programs, and TV shows on local food, culture and travel. He live and works in the vibrant Strathcona neighbourhood, where he also collects inexpensive things and enjoys birds, skateboards, whisky, shoes, many songs, and the smell of wood fires.