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The Hotly Anticipated “Save On Meats” Opens Today In Gastown

Michelle took these shots at the first “friends and family” dinner service at the highly anticipated Save On Meats last night (since forever referred to colloquially as “Save On”).

The venerated, salt-of-the-earth restaurant at 43 West Hastings has taken over a year to resurrect itself under new stewardship, this after 50 years spent serving honest, prepped-in-house diner fare to every stripe of Vancouverite.

Scout broke the news of its coming with Mark Brand at the helm over a year ago and took many shots during the construction phase. Because of the building’s history and our memories of the original Save On, we’ve been especially keen. We’re thrilled to the wait come to an end. Brand – who has the lease for 20 years – assures me it’ll open to the public in 12 hours from now – that’s at noon, Wednesday, June 22nd – come “hell or high water.”

A lot of people had a hand in this project and worked very hard on it (Nico, Guy, Rodney, Jason et al, take a bow). I imagine it will be fixed as an unforgettable experience for all who dedicated their and sweat time to it. From the look of these shots, their hard toil has paid off. The photos reveal their superb job at improving on a Vancouver legend without diminishing its working class spirit and feel. And the prices on the draft menu are pretty sweet, too (nevermind the spelling, it’s just a draft). We’ll leave it at that and the imagery, without captions. The rest is to your imaginations as we fully expect that you’d like to check it out for yourselves.

We’re hardly impartial on this one. Welcome back, Save On. We hope you kill it.

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  • Josh and Alex, Save on Meats
  • Save on Meats Apple rhubarb crisp
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  • Nico with her special Save on Meats smile
  • Save on Meats Choclate pudding
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  • Save On Meats | Classic diner fare with boozy shakes | 43 West Hastings St. | DTES
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  • Still Life at Save on Meats
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  • Nico and Mark | Save on Meats
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There are 19 comments

  1. Finally!!! looks amazing and from the looks of the menu the price i9s right for the neighbourhood! Can’t wait to be a regular!

  2. Unreal atmosphere and visually appealling. Awesome, can’t wait to get to Van to sit with my closest friends and enjoy a sandwich and beverage… Awesome work Mr. Brand, Nico and team..
    So proud of your accomplishments.
    Mat Sabinski

  3. I look forward to checking out the improvements. I worked for the original Save On back in 1987 where some of my job duties involved scraping off expiry dates and hacking off mouldy parts of blocks of cheese to salvage what is left.

  4. Arrived around lunch time. The place looks like it has potential. Great atmosphere. Jukebox music. Nice people. Their menu looks great.

    We waiting about 20 minutes for our table and about 15 minutes for our food (understandable since lunch and 2nd day of opening). The food does not match the way the place was laid out.

    Poor quality of food. I first had their soup “Meaty Chili – No beans” it tasted comparable to spaghetti sauce. For my main lunch I had the “Roasted Chicken on Bread with Gravy + Fries” – the fries way too dry and the roasted chicken tasted like it was bought from Superstore. I think it tastes like airplane food.

    Me and 5 of my friends were very dissappointed. I tasted theirs and it is powdered gravy + powdered mashed potatoes. The meat definitely does not taste like the quality of meat they sell in their original business next door.

    If Denny’s was a rough comparison towards this restaurant and they were side by side. I would pick Denny’s.

    Also the price was not what I expected. Don’t get me wrong, I am willing to dish out big money and a big tip for good quality food. Their “Bowl of soup” for 5 dollars was a large plate like saucer that cats drink milk from in cartoons. 9 dollars for my main meal that took 20 minutes which I’d rather pay 9 dollars for a better meal at “Meat & Bread” thats close by or “Acme Cafe” next door.

    After we finished our horrible meals. Our prices were all wrong. We called the waiter in and she fixed it. It was wrong again and this went on in circulation 3 more times. We waited around 10-15 minutes more to get our bill right.

    So in total. We spent 2 hours there. At the end of it I was dissapointed of the time and money I have lost being there.

    Good service though but that’s not really why people go out for food for which is what Vancouver continously gets it wrong. Food should be first and service should be second.

    Now I have a stomach ache.

  5. ^ That’s too bad. I had a good lunch there with my family yesterday; a really good burger with chili and a fried egg on top. Fries were hot and crispy, too. Your nasty experience could have been on account of the fact that it was their first day of trade and they were slammed like nobody’s business. It’s usually the case that a restaurant improves after day one. Even if my burger had sucked and the service had been as slow as syrup in the cold, I’d be keen to go back.

  6. Have to agree somewhat with William but no completely. I did feel the service was fine as were the prices. The food is unfortunately bland and best described as hospital-like. The mashed potatoes were powdery like already mentioned, they also had a touch of sourness to them. The gravy was pretty bad and I can’t figure out when it had a tangy taste to it. The steamed veggies were also flavourless. I found the meatloaf and chicken enjoyable but only by itself, the bread the chicken was on was very soggy. I gave them the another shot last night, the burger was pretty good as were the fries, the ribs not so much, they were cooked well but the bbq on them was awful. Also the biscuit that came with it was uneatable. The milkshake was great though. I think it’ll come around they just need some guidance. Don’t be afraid of the salt shaker.

  7. well … I wasn’t going here expecting gourmet food, nor would I want it there, the feeling of the inevitable swarm of trendy pricks would be too much. Although (so far) I can deal with it here. I had the burger twice, once the second day of their opening and then again yesterday. Its improved drastically already, and its 6$, which isnt the 4$ it was before, but its not that bad either. Considering you get bacon and cheese … which would have come to about 6$ at the old place anyhow. The overall burger was great too, and I personally loved the gravy, but I never eat anywhere fancy … Maybe my taste buds aren’t up to some standards. It will be interesting to see how this place evolves, and I want to try their ribs, but im kind of afraid now. So far though, its a pretty decent burger place, all they need is beer.

  8. I dont usually comment on these kinds of threads, but William has inspired me, just because I feel he’s just totally missing the point (if something as straight up as a diner with cheap grub indeed ever needed to have a point!)
    So, yeah, Save On is a diner. Its a very inexpensive, no fuss diner. Inexpensive, almost to the point that I dont know how they have prices so low.
    The food matches exactly the feeling they have created.
    They’re not trying to WOW you.
    Its a place you can afford to go to everyday. And people will.
    The food isnt “amazing”, but frankly, something like a $9 meatloaf dish doesnt need to blow your mind. It needs to satisfy your hunger & have a few details taken care of: fresh veggies, gravy or jus made by somebody who obviously knows what they are doing & a good healthy dose of butter in the mash always helps too.
    Their’s happens to be very tasty. All out comfort food done well.
    Go to Subway & see what you get for $9.
    I really liked the eclectic mix of staff.
    They were fantastic at making everybody feel welcome.
    They are just doing their thing & doing it well. If you dont like it, simply dont go there.
    Why do people have to post their petty grievences on a thread like this for all to see?
    Whats wrong with writing a letter or email to the managment if you feel that badly done by? Im certain they would make things right. They seem to be professional operators with an obvious keeness to make people happy.
    Why would somebody feel the need to try to damage the reputation of a place that has barely been operating for 48 hours?
    Its nonsense. (and so is making assumptions about whether or not their mash & gravy is powdered!!)

  9. Frankie Doodles if I could thank or like your comment, I would do it in a heartbeat. I think William just doesn’t understand or get it, but that’s okay.. there’s always some out there.

  10. William isn’t trashing on the place, he gave us his opinion of his visit there, ie. a review. That was his honest experience there, that’s what we all want to hear.

  11. Went in to the butcher shop. $4.70 something per pound for REGULAR ground beef? ($5 something for lean and $6 something for extra lean) I won’t be shopping there and neither will anyone else downtown.

  12. Thank god someone finally pointed out how crappy butcher prices are in our local communities . Let’s just hope i get a transit break on finding a cheaper alternative. What happened to bad meat at a fair price. Organic, local, sustainable….dicks. Everything is so complicated. What about our fellow mans availability of shitty meat at a reasonable price?

  13. […] was so stoked to see that Save on Meats was back open that I went straight there on my way back from the Driver Services centre (on my way to officially […]

  14. This place has been open a month now, and it has received air time this morning on City TV. I am happy to see that everyone is welcome to
    Save On, and I am pleased to see that all can afford to eat here.

    Down home, home made food, nothing is pre cooked and sitting on the heat rack, everything is fresh. Like back in the day they kept the prices low to accommodate those on low income, which is something I was surprised by. The owners took the time to see the area that they were about to move into to have a business, they gave it allot of thought. I’m pleased to see that they open a place to accommodate the people around them. Don’t need a high class, high price food joint.

    Food is down to earth, and priced affordable for all awesome.

    Hats off for down to earth owners who took the chance to open a business in a area that has all walks of life surrounding them.

    May your business prosper like the Save On did for many years to come.

    Good luck gentlemen. Thank you for your unselfishness.

    Port Moody