Further Afield Trips asks locals in a town well beyond Vancouver’s city limits where to find the best places to eat, drink, chill, and have a good time. Think of it as the country cousin to The Dishes.
Cord Jarvie has a long history of involvement in the restaurant industry in Vancouver (co-founder of Meat & Bread, Juke Fried Chicken), so we know he knows good food. A few years back, Jarvie moved to Powell River to open Supercharger (with Chef Terry Somerville and partner Kristine Morrow) – an 80s inspired pizza shop with proper pizza and a solid selection of craft beer. When we started to think about taking a trip up the Sunshine Coast, we knew we wanted to land at Supercharger, but we didn’t know enough about Powell River to know where else to go, so we reached out to ask Jarvie for his suggestions, and here’s what he had to say…
Good morning! Let’s take a walk/hike in nature before it gets too hot. Where should we go?
Valentine Mountain: Powell River’s hidden secret is the network of forest trails and endless hikes available within minutes. When we moved here just after the pandemic, I was staying home with the kids and would be out there everyday hunting for chanterelles (in season). This quick hike finishes with a knockout view across PR and Texada. Also, absolutely any section of the Sunshine Coast trail is worth a look, it weaves all over PR. The Manzanita Hut section is a standout.
Is there somewhere along the way we can stop for coffee?
For sure: 32 Lakes Cafe and Bakery! Locally roasted beans, farm-to-table pastries…and, depending on which day you call in, an art exhibit, rad vintage clothing sale, or farmers market running in there too. As an Aussie I am an authority on sausage rolls, and this one crushes. Side note: owners Nevada and Ryan are the best neighbours ever.
Now we’re starving! Where should we eat? (breakfast/brunch or lunch)
Hearth & Grain. Colleen is an expert baker and chef in the Townsite area of PR (over by the mill). An ex-Vancoverite baking some incredible sourdough, pane chocolate and so much more… She brought me a kouign-amann that I blew my mind. Bonus: they also sell Brut charcuterie (incredible dried and aged sausage) to take on your hiking travels.
We’ve got some free time for an afternoon adventure. What do you suggest we do?
Chill option: oysters. When I am trying to sell a visitor on PR I pull this one out of the bag. Okeover Bay is great for freshly shucked oysters off the beach (must have a fishing license to harvest!) All you need is a shucker and a fishing licence; throw a lemon and tabasco in your pocket; and try not to stab yourself. You can even have a campfire on the beach and roast the oysters over the fire.
Not so chill option: mountain biking. Mahony Mountain is the go-to option if you’re seeking some thrills. Gorgeous views at the top of the climb.
That was fun! Now we need a pick-me-up plunge in some cool water. Can you let us in on your favourite nearby place to cool off in?
After biking Mahony Mountain, you can finish with a dip at Inland Lake. (I’m an ocean dip person myself, but the lakes are warmer.) Mowat Bay/ Haywire Bay and West Lake are the local go-tos.You could drive 15 min and hit half a dozen. A few of these are rocky on entry, though, so bring your natives, crocs or jandals.
Where should we head for a post-adventure beer, glass of wine or cocktail?
Townsite Brewery. Belgian style beers on the grass – you can’t go wrong. My summer favourite is the Lime Gose. Chloe and Cedric have created a must-visit spot with a new massive beer garden out back. Good luck beating my record on Galaga.
Now we’re hungry again. What’s the plan for dinner?
When you are on the coast, nothing beats a sunset dinner and a big plate of fresh seafood. In Powell River, the place to go for that is Seasider, plus they have a great patio with a view of the ocean. If you are looking for something more casual, come and see us at Supercharger and we’ll fix you up with fresh salad, good pizza and cold beer, plus we’d love to meet you and hear about where your adventures in the area have taken you.
It’s patio season! What’s your favourite restaurant patio?
Costa Del Sol has a sweet garden patio. It’s the perfect place to pair their tacos with a seasonal margarita. I’m a traditional lime fella, but the fancy players go for the toasted coconut marg. Forest Bistro has a great patio for a sunset pint.
Any tips on a good spot to take in the view and watch the sun go down?
At Willingdon Beach there are gorgeous summer sunsets, and if you’re lucky you will see the whales cruise by (more often than you would believe). Bonus: it’s also got a great park if you have some rugrats to tire out.
It’s time to catch some shuteye, where do you suggest we stay?
To be honest, Powell River could use a small updated hotel. I would check out some of the Airbnb options – there are some waterfront gems.
Anything we absolutely have to pack in our suitcase while visiting?
Paddleboards, dogs, hiking shoes, mountain bikes, and an oyster shucker in your back pocket!