I asked this as a circle question at the 11 am class this morning: What is your favourite local 'Mom and Pop'-style business in the city?
There are so many gems out there—I like to think MadLab fits into that category—that you may not even realize is around the corner from you, but shopping at a small fresh produce store owned by a local family sure beats hitting up Safeway on the way home from work!
Here are a few of my favourites! PLEASE, please please share your favourite local small businesses in the comments section:
I just discovered this place (Thanks Audrey). It's on Commercial at 7th, right next to Donald's (which is another great place for produce, although I prefer the one on Hastings at Nanaimo). I almost want to tell Sweet Greek they should raise their prices because what you get for the prize blows my mind. Giant portion sizes and really tasty food. Their schnitzel sandwich is amazing (the schnitzel to bun ratio is ridiculous...schnitzel for days!) I never said it was healthy, but it is delicious. Their soups are outstanding, as well, and I think about the meat pie when I'm falling asleep at night.
It's on Commercial and 2nd. They make their own sausages without preservatives and hormones, and you can taste how fresh they are. Their prices are really, really good, too, although they only take cash. Don't get all skeptical, though; they have been around since 1987. Sausage so fresh I was almost hit in the head by a pig carcass one morning as he was being carried into the store—he had just been butchered that morning. Vegetarians, steer clear, but meat eaters will be in paradise here.
• The Red Wagon and the Bistro Rouge
Both are owned by one of my clients, Brad Miller. The Red Wagon at Hastings and Nanaimo is famous for their breakfast (and pork belly!), and the Bistro Rouge on Powell street and Victoria is outstanding for a non-pretentious, authentic French environment. Duck confit is amazing, and so is his homemade pate.
Main and Keefer. I'm no Vegan, and I can even attest to this pizza. It happens to be owned by my good family friends, so I've had my fair share at family events, but seriously good vegan pizza. What I like is they still use real ingredients. Their cheeses are nut-based, which seems a lot better than other more processed Vegan alternatives. They make their own ice cream, too, for those who don't do well with lactose.
• Santa Barbara
This place will always be the best place on the Drive for vegetables and deli stuff. Their goat cheddar cheese...Mmmmm.
On Kingsway. Don't buy your produce here, but high-quality meat selections are on point.
A few others that were mentioned in this morning's class:
•Welk's General Store: On Main Street. I have never been here, but it was mentioned more than once as a 'must go!'
•Best Falafel: On the Drive. About three blocks from MadLab! Post-workout meal, anyone?
•Sunrise Market: On Powell Street in East Van: Really inexpensive produce, I am told.
•Dandilion Records: On Main Street.
Oh, and Walter's dispensary, but I forgot to make not of the name...
What are your favourite places in East Van?