Five Years Ago This Week, This Vancouver Salad Company Was Just Getting Started

Stephen Collins, Rasoul Salehi and Stefenie Milosz inside Field & Social at 415 Dunsmuir St.

For this week’s edition of #ThrowbackThursday, we go back exactly five years to the beginnings of Field & Social on Dunsmuir Street…

The local, salad-focused company that has since grown to three locations (with a fourth on the way in Yaletown), but the Fall of 2015 is when the ball started rolling…

Earlier this week I took a look inside the recently revamped ground floor of the old 1911 Labor Temple building at 415 Dunsmuir Street. It’s been split into three units. One is a blank canvas destined to be another JJ Bean, another is a White Spot that has already been open for several months, and between them is a 1,750 sqft raw space that will go under the knife to become Field & Social, a salad-focused, 30 seat, quick service restaurant with a modern, Scandinavian look and feel.

Showing me around were co-owner Stephen Collins and his wife Stefenie Milosz, as well as Rasoul Salehi (trio picture above). Not present were co-owners Moe Samieian and Ali Pejman. Rasoul, who you might recognise as Managing Partner at Le Vieux Pin and LaStella wineries, is Moe’s brother-in-law. He’s on board in an advisory capacity.

The concept sounds like a winner, sort of like a breadless Meat & Bread. To wit, instead of a limited menu of consistently executed sandwiches, Field & Social will deal in carefully considered salads. While that’s nothing new, the aesthetic element should prove alluring. Stephen agrees. “Why does salad restaurants always have to be tacky? Why can’t it have style?” To that end, they’ve hired Ruth Janekelowitz of Janks Design Group (see also Earnest Ice Cream) to execute the look with tight branding by Lucy & Guy Browning of Workhouse Collective. Come opening day in early 2016, the interior will see a white marble counter, plenty of copper sinks and pendant lights, and plenty of long communal tables. The exposed concrete pillars and floors will stay unclad.

To give you an idea, take a look at the mood board…

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As for the menu, it will see six salads, four of them signature and two of them seasonal. I asked for an example of the latter, and they gave me one that included braised beef, squash, lentils, scallions, shredded cabbage, arugula, puffed buckwheat and wild rice with a dressing of black garlic, fermented key lime zest, and olive oil. Each salad will have one stand-out ingredient, like puffed buckwheat, a ramen egg, or some smoked chicken thigh meat. They’re also doing double dressing, with one dressing (thicker emulsified) on the bottom and a completely different dressing (lighter vinaigrette) on the top. We can also expect a pair of soups and some guilt-free treats that are vegan, gluten-free, and refined sugar-free. No coffee, though. Only an assortment of teas, iced teas, and kombucha on tap, including a ginger and Hei Cha custom blend made with the help of O5 Tea.

Considering Vancouver’s love of green things and the fact that the restaurant’s frontage faces directly onto the Dunsmuir bike lane, it sounds a lot like a scalable home run just waiting to be hit.

Scalable indeed. Take a closer look inside the space they started with…

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