Inside the New ‘DL Chicken Shack’ at UBC

Two days ago I poked my head inside 6065 University Boulevard, the address of what will very soon open as the second location of Commercial Drive’s popular DL Chicken Shack (aka “Downlow”)…

Inside the lofty 1,654 sqft space (formerly home to an outpost of the troubled Bao Down chainlet) there were trades finishing jobs, a couple staff stocking and prepping the weirdly angled (but large) kitchen, and owners Doug Stephen and Lindsey Mann. Outside, UBC students crammed both sides of the boulevard, getting familiar or reacquainted with the restaurant-saturated sector of their sprawling campus. My alma mater had a grim cafeteria and several vending machines – no other food options – so I was feeling wistfully jealous, and maybe a little old staring out the many windows. These lucky students were already spoiled for choice in this tight, tree-lined little zone with sushi, ramen, poké, ice cream, coffee, pizza and tacos. Now they’re about to get a Downlow? Sigh.

As you can see from the photos below it’s a very different look and feel than the original DL on The Drive. It’s not fancy or cold in its modernity. The branded wallpaper, friendly staff, signature smells and familiar menu items will definitely tie them together. This DL is just…bigger. There’s space to move about, some 50 seats to perch upon and a large, slightly elevated patio that juts out from the garage door like a ship’s sundeck. There’s neon branding coming, possibly a liquor license (down the road) and a brand new spice mix to try. It’s a Sichuan dust they’re calling “Thunder” in honour of the UBC Thunderbirds sports teams (I tried a couple of tenders well-coated with Thunder and oh my god can I vouch for its tasty, tongue-numbing Sichuanitude.) I don’t know if it will see the kinds of line-ups that occur daily at the original, but I’m certain it will find its footing immediately.

The new DL will officially open on Tuesday, September 7th, offering take-out and dine-in with online ordering coming soon after launch.

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