I recently took my first look inside Central City‘s soon to open Red Racer restaurant (in the old Dix BBQ spot at 871 Beatty Street). The staff were sitting down and being schooled on the menu as Darryll Frost, president and founder of Central City Brewers + Distillers, walked me around the almost-finished space, beaming with pride.
This is Central City’s first step outside of their home base of Surrey, where all of their core operations have been based to date. Even though they can’t brew on site yet (maybe not for as long as a year until their license ducks are in a row), to say that they’re “excited” about this project is a gross understatement. Stoked is more like it.
I was a fan of the original Dix, so the first thing that struck me about how the 4,800 sqft has been rearranged wasn’t the fact that the building went through all the City Hall hoops of a complete upgrade (electrical, mechanical, etc), but rather that the original Dix signage was front and center, boasting pride of place in the glassed in, beautifully appointed private room that comes complete with a long communal table (made of broad weeping willow planks) and foeder barrels for aging sour beers. A classy touch.
The overall designs’ Victorian steam punk aesthetic is softened by a lot of leather; every nook, corner, and cranny is sublimely cozy, even charming. There’s plenty of mosaic tile work underfoot and ancient beams overhead, and enough brick to make Gastown check its pockets.
I love the breadth of the 36 seat bar, which is framed by 40+ taps. Expect these to pour 14 of Central City’s own Red Racer and limited release beers, plus Hopping Mad Cider and a Brewmaster-curated collection of other local craft beers.
The food concept is authentic, slow smoked barbecue, specializing in build-your-own-burgers. Executive Chef Carl Sawatsky’s menu reads like a meaty, saucy, irresistible list of oh-my-god temptations. It contains everything from Devil’s on Horseback and Scotch Eggs to brisket, babyback ribs and fried chicken to beef dip, pulled pork and hundreds of DIY burger variations.
A lot of fun will be had in this place. Dix was a consistent blast, especially during hockey games, so I expect Red Racer will do just fine in the good times department. The grand opening is slated for Friday, July 24.