A no messing around guide to the coolest things to eat, drink and do in Vancouver and beyond. Community. Not clickbait.

Is the BC Restaurant Industry in a Crisis?

Welcome to the Track & Food podcast. Host Jamie Mah is a writer, bartender and sommelier in beautiful Vancouver, BC. Join him as he takes a deep dive into everything food and culture happening in the city and around the globe.

Whether at work or with friends, one of the more common questions posed to me is: “Where do you recommend going for dinner?” In a city as varied and culturally diverse as Vancouver, options for delicious fare seem endless. But despite the abundance of intrigue and hard-to-book tables, the local sector is in peril (much like the beer industry featured in my previous episode). This is largely (still) owing to the hard-hitting pandemic, which left thousands of small businesses scrambling nationwide. In today’s episode we hone in on the Canada Emergency Business Account (CEBA), a $60,000 government assistance loan with a string attached: $20,000 in forgiveness if paid back by a specific date. That date passed in 2022 and was extended once more to January 18th, 2024. More than 885,000 small businesses and not-for-profits took out CEBA loans, totalling more than $48 billion.

According to a Restaurants Canada report from late October 2023, the Canadian food service industry was on track to reach a remarkable milestone, with a value of $110 billion in 2023. It is Canada’s fourth largest private employer, serving 22 million people per day – yet over 50 percent of restaurants and food service businesses are either operating at a loss or barely breaking even.

To better understand what is happening on the ground here in Vancouver, I’ve rounded up a few friends who also work in the industry: Shira Blustein (owner of Acorn and The Arbor); Shaun Layton (co-owner of ¿CóMO? Tapería); and James Iranzad (co-founder and operator of Gooseneck Hospitality, and a fixture on this podcast).

We debate where restaurants are headed in 2024 and what can be done to help an industry on the brink.

Does Vancouver Have a Defining Food Image?

Welcome to the Episode 100 extravaganza! Get ready for a two-and-a-half-hour-long fun-filled and bubbles-fuelled episode of insider knowledge and laughter.

Demythologizing Poverty with Local Expert, Tracy Smith-Carrier

Will poverty always be a systemic issue? This is the question at the heart of an article published in The Conversation last December, written by today's guest and Jamie Mah's most recent Track & Food Podcast episode.

An Inside Look at the Controversial Mount Pleasant BIA Expansion

In this episode, we hear from Mount Pleasant BIA Executive Director, Neil Wyles, on why he's pushed so hard for this expansion and what that process has entailed so far, as well as from those in opposition, including three Main Street business owners.

What’s Going On with the BC Craft Beer Industry?

To gain a better comprehension of the situation from the inside, Jamie has rounded up three friends and prominent brewery owners to share their knowledge and personal narratives, and discuss the state of the craft brewery market today, how they see it evolving, and the challenges ahead…