Posts Tagged ‘coffee’

Stong’s Market

Wednesday, June 21st, 2017

A Grand Return to Dunbar.

It was a perfect spring day – the sun was shining, music was playing and it felt like a big Dunbar block party when Stong’s Market officially re-opened on May 13.

John Roden, Stong’s marketing manager reports, “It was great to see the fun and excitement as kids were high-fiving Spiderman and people were spinning the prize wheel. We couldn’t have asked for a better grand re-opening celebration.”

There was a noticeable absence in the neighbourhood last May when the grocery store closed due to redevelopment of the 4500 block of Dunbar Street. Remarkably, Stong’s was only gone for seven months while the new location at West 27th Avenue and Dunbar Street was being completed.

This is the fourth time Stong’s has relocated on Dunbar Street in 62 years.

Stongs Market Cori Bonina Dunbar LifeThe original 1955 location was situated where BMO now resides. In 1960 Stong’s moved to 4326 Dunbar (now home to Shoppers Drug Mart). In 1980 it moved south to its former location across from Dunbar Theatre. The new Stong’s is in almost the same location as the original 1955 store.

Stong’s president and owner Cori Bonina holds the honour of being the fourth generation owner of this family business. Her great grandfather Carson Stong opened the first Stong’s Market in the early 1890s in Toronto with his brother Joe. With the onset of the Depression in 1931, Carson moved to Vancouver and set up two of the first open-air markets in Vancouver. His son Ralph opened the first Vancouver Stong’s Market in 1955.

Ralph’s son-in law Bill Rossum (Cori’s father) took over as general manager in 1971. Cori joined forces with her father and became general manager in 1997; she took over as president in 2001. Her son Carson is carrying on the family legacy; he is the manager of Stong’s new Northwood location in North Vancouver.

2016 was a monumental year for Stong’s. The Northwood location opened in May and in December the Dunbar village store had a soft re-opening.

Frank Rainey, director of store operations, mentions that designing Stong’s from the ground up was a wonderful opportunity. He says, “We are proud to have evolved into a 21st century grocery store where customers can expect an elevated shopping experience.”

Stongs Market butcher Dunbar LifeThe attractive Dunbar village store has increased in size by 6,000 square feet and features modern elements such as concrete floors, exposed ceilings and a West Coast feel through the use of wood panelled walls, but at the same time the past is still very much present. Champion, the beloved coin-operated horse, awaits eager young riders. John says, “Parents bring their children to ride on the horse they rode as a child.” Historical photos are also nicely integrated to celebrate the store’s rich past. Another nod to the past is a free cookie at the bakery for little ones.

Specialized departments surround the periphery of the shop. If you are looking for magnificent floral arrangements head to Stems, located at the store’s entrance. Five floral designers are on staff to create wow factor custom bouquets.

The introduction of a stone oven pizza is proving to be a big hit, as is Edibles, the expanded deli where customers can choose from a large selection of take home prepared foods including many offerings from Stong’s own brand, Cori’s Kitchen. Frank mentions that Stong’s roasted chicken continues to be one of the favorites with their customers.

In a rush and need to grab a meal on the go? Head to the panini counter or pick up some freshly made sushi. If baked goods are on your shopping list the in house bakery is sure to please. As a side note, the tantalizing aromas circulating from the various departments can lead you on a hunt to track down what’s cooking.

Tip: There is plenty of spacious free underground parking on site.

A wide selection of products from major national brands to an extensive selection of unique, gourmet, natural and organic products can be found. Stong’s takes pride in supporting local suppliers of all sizes; work is well under way to expand the selection of local produce as they have been reaching out to a lot of local farmers.

Stong’s also supports many local small suppliers looking to develop their product; it was the first store to offer Lesley Stowe Raincoast Crisp crackers, which are now sold throughout North America.

“Stong’s staff are passionate about their departments. They love what they do.” Frank Rainey

As anyone who shops at Stong’s knows, it is a community hub where you run into friends and neighbours in the aisles. With the introduction of Replenish café, customers can catch up over an impromptu coffee and light snack. On warm days roll up garage doors open with additional seating outdoors.

Stongs Market Cori Pizza Dunbar LifeNo time to go grocery shopping or perhaps you can’t make it out of your house? No worries, Stong’s Express is an online shopping service which offers next day delivery to most of the Lower Mainland with dedicated personal shoppers and trucks on the road seven days a week.

John aptly points out, “Stong’s is the heart of the community. There is an emotional connection to this store.” Without a doubt, Stong’s short-term closure reinforced Dunbar residents’ vested interest in their market. They love to shop locally and support independent businesses, and are extremely happy to have their favourite grocery store back.

Stong’s Market
4221 Dunbar Street
Vancouver, BC V6S 2G1
Telephone 604-266-1401

Crepe & Cafe

Sunday, March 19th, 2017

Customers Come First for New Owner

Crepe Cafe Dunbar 3500 w41stDiljeet Taheem is the proud new owner of Crepe & Café located at the corner of West 41st Avenue and Collingwood Street. He took over the established business last June and is quickly winning over customers.

Originally from Delhi, Diljeet followed his brother to Vancouver in 1990. He holds a Masters degree in Economics in addition to a diploma in Microcomputer Business Applications. He worked at the Vancouver School Board for a number of years and currently owns a design, printing and sign making company called Jasonbel Creations Inc. in addition to operating Crepe & Café.

His passion for cooking began at an early age. Diljeet explains, “I liked to watch my mother preparing food.”

Crepe Cafe Dunbar Diljeet Parminder TaheemDiljeet had been looking to purchase a coffee shop for two years when he discovered Crepe & Café was for sale and felt it was a perfect fit. Diljeet wasn’t looking for a formal dining experience and knew a franchise would not suit him. He was determined to operate an independent business where he could apply his creativity and make the business his own.

Cleanliness is high on this owner’s list of priorities so he started by giving the restaurant a full makeover. All of the counters were replaced and the floor was refinished. Tiffany-style pendant lights hang over counter and a number of chandeliers are mounted throughout the dining area. A black industrial open ceiling is balanced with white walls and artwork. He also replaced all of the furniture. Diljeet smiles when he reports a little boy commented on the comfortable new chairs.

Not being French or having run a restaurant did not deter the new business owner. The former owners trained him. He says, “I learnt from them but I did not stop.” He mentions his chef friends also shared their knowledge. Diljeet took to the challenge in an academic fashion and threw himself into researching French cuisine. He makes frequent references to the importance of technique.

“Cooking techniques are the same around the world with minor variations.” Diljeet Taheem

When it comes to crepes, Diljeet drew from his experience with the dosa, a type of pancake commonly made in southern India, which share similarities.

Crepe Cafe Dunbar interiorHis wife Parminder works alongside him in the kitchen; she prepares the crepes while Diljeet brews coffee and bakes.

Diljeet hasn’t changed the menu but he has improved it. He has added an organic salad to the crepe plate without increasing the price. He says, “I want to make sure my customers receive quality and value.”

On the menu you will find savoury crepes known as galette made with buckwheat flour. A number of fillings are available including eggs with Black Forest ham and Swiss cheese, smoked salmon with organic spinach and Swiss cheese, and chicken with red onion, tomato and Swiss cheese.

Sweet crepes include lemon and sugar, Nutella and banana, sugar with butter and cinnamon, and an assortment of jam fillings. Gluten-free crepes are also offered. Grilled sandwiches and wraps are very popular with the lunchtime crowd, and the fresh baked goods (including almond cookies and croissants) are a perfect accompaniment to enjoy with a variety of organic coffees (latte, cappuccino, espresso, Americano), organic teas (Diljeet says he makes an excellent chai latte), and other hot comfort drinks (hot chocolate and steamed milk).

When Diljeet sets himself a goal he won’t stop until he masters it. For example, he wanted to improve the coffee sold at Crepe & Café. He says, “I used my research skills to learn everything there is to know about coffee.” From using quality beans to the art of grinding, pressing and percolation, he says, “I technically fixed the coffee brewing process and have passed this knowledge on to my staff. The quality has to be there for the price.”

Diljeet strives for a personal experience. He says, “I want it to be like a home.”

Honest opinions are of utmost importance to Diljeet; he makes a point of personally serving new customers and asking how they enjoyed their meal. “My goal is to have them respond with a wow,” Diljeet says. One of his proudest moments to date was when he asked for feedback from a French couple – they were so impressed with their experience they asked Diljeet if he has spent time in France (he hasn’t).

Treating his customers with respect and courtesy comes as second nature to Diljeet. He likes to pull back customer’s chairs and is always happy to assist senior customers by holding the door.

When asked what he is finding most satisfying about operating Crepe & Cafe, Diljeet replies without hesitating, “What I am learning and using in my business. Knowing the café is improving and that people like the changes is very satisfying to me.”

Crepé & Cafe
3500 W 41st Avenue
Vancouver BC V6N 3E6
Telephone 604-566-9787

Save-On-Foods Dunbar

Tuesday, June 21st, 2016

Save-on-foods-dunbar-checkout-palla-mediaA flurry of activity took place for six weeks to prepare for the May 14 grand opening of Save-On-Foods new location on West 41 Avenue. Two days prior to the big day, store manager Randy Nerling took time to discuss the impressive renovations and what the neighbourhood can expect from the new grocery store.

The transformation of the former IGA began at the end of March. At the same time Overwaitea Food Group, owned by Jim Pattison, purchased two other Vancouver IGAs on the east side, which have also been converted to Save-On-Food stores.

“There’s a buzz in the neighbourhood. I believe this store will be well received.” Randy Nerling

Save-on-foods-dunbar-Randy-Nerling-palla-mediaContractors, Save-On-Food’s head office support team and regional specialists worked around the clock to reach the mid-May opening goal. In that time the shop received an exterior and interior facelift consisting of painting, lighting, flooring, fixtures and refurbishing refrigeration equipment.

Nerling laughs when he reports, “It was looking so good three days prior to opening that one customer entered the store and was trying to shop until he realized he was surrounded by people in construction hats.”

In addition to the physical changes a key part of the time was used to transition the former IGA staff who were automatically transferred over if they wished to stay. New systems, programs and cash registers needed to be learnt. The majority of former employees and management joined Save-On-Foods and additional new staff were recruited to round out the team.

Nerling comments, “They possess an abundance of experience and knowledge which they offer the company.”

Save-on-foods-dunbar-1-palla-mediaThe opening is exciting for Save-On-Foods fans as the only other location in the area is at UBC. What can customers expect to find at this new store? While the square footage is smaller than a regular Save-On-Foods, the design team managed to accommodate an extra aisle to ensure that some of the best-loved products would find their way to the shelves. The house label, Western Family is showcased alongside popular brand name favourites, offering added value while keeping exceptional quality to its name. Darrell’s Deals are hand picked weekly by Save-On-Foods’ president and offer impressive savings on popular products.

A new feature called “six mix” specialty soda pop allows customers to mix and match a customized six-pack.

A premium floral section features high quality fresh cut bouquets and single stem flowers for custom-made designs. A deli and meat counter along with seafood selections are showcased with a butcher on hand to assist in choosing what you would like for dinner that night. With plans to expand its offering, phase two of the renovation includes a bakery and a restaurant style section featuring hot foods.

Save-on-foods-dunbar-fresh-palla-mediaBeing a 100 per cent locally owned company distinguishes Save-On-Foods from other grocery stores. Since its early beginnings in 1915 the company has taken pride in partnering with local producers including Alberta beef farmers and produce farmers as close by as Delta. When in season Save-On-Foods features and promotes these producers through signage and campaigns. ‘In store everyday’ is the shop local display that features products from all over our province.

The Dunbar store offers a unique service called Click and Connect. This online shopping program allows shoppers to pay from the comfort of their smart phone or computer. Pull up in the parking lot and the purchase will be delivered directly to your car at an arranged time.

Giving back to the community is a large part of Save-On-Foods mandate. Schools, sports teams, community events, clubs and the biggest benefactor, B.C. Children’s Hospital, are all generously assisted by the company.
Fundraising to assist those affected by the Fort McMurray wildfires has been high on the list of priorities. Nerling says, “Trailer upon trailer has been sent, loaded with food hampers.”

“The heartbeat of the company is to give back. It’s what we do.” Randy Nerling

Giving back also resonates for Nerling on a personal level. He has recently been nominated to sit on the Dunbar Village Business Association’s board of directors and is excited to attend their Annual General Meeting on June 15.

Nerling was hand picked as the new store manager. With 25 years’ experience there is no question that he was the person to oversee the renovation and transition the former IGA staff into their new roles as Save-On-Foods employees.

He shares a story akin to president Darrell Jones who worked his way up the ladder from bagging groceries as a part-time job in high school. Nerling got his start as a high school student stocking shelves in Nanaimo.

Save-on-foods-dunbar-store-palla-mediaExtremely supportive of its employees, Save-On-Foods recognizes the talented and committed people working for the company by offering management courses, university credited leadership courses and even scholar-ships for team members and their families. He says, “Our people are home grown and have been with the company for a long time.”

Nerling is excited to have made the move from Richmond’s Price Smart (also an Overwaitea affiliate) to Dunbar, which he describes as “a nice little community.”

Welcome to the neighbourhood, Save-On-Foods.

3535 W 41st Avenue
Vancouver BC V6N 3B8
Telephone 604-261-2423

Mac’s Dunbar

Friday, December 4th, 2015

Macs_Dunbar_Life_Palla_Media_Farhan_HaiderMac’s: Canada’s Convenience Store Since 1962

Mac’s has been a fixture on Dunbar Street since 1997. The Canadian convenience store franchise got its start in 1962 under the name Mac’s Milk, represented by the mascot “MacIntosh” the grinning cat, who sported a tam o’ shanter hat and kilt.

In 1975 the company underwent a name change to Mac’s Convenience Stores. In 1999 the company was bought by Montreal based Alimentation Couche-Tard and the new logo “Hibou” the winking owl was introduced, welcoming customers at over 850 storefronts across Canada.

Farhan Haider is the proud owner of Dunbar’s Mac’s and like the winking owl, he has a spark with his big, welcoming smile.

He takes pride in serving people and it is a priority to make customers feel happy when they come in the door.

Originally from Lahore, the capital city of the Pakistani province of Punjab, Haider holds a Masters degree in business administration and learnt how to run a successful business from his 11-year background in marketing.

Macs_Dunbar_Life_Palla_Media_3His new life in Canada began in 2008 when he moved to Canmore, Alberta. While working for another franchise, Shell Canada, he determined he would like to explore this line of work and submitted an application to see what opportunities existed with Mac’s. In 2011 his effort yielded the chance to move to Vancouver to run the Dunbar Street Mac’s.

While product buying is managed centrally by head office, all of the ordering for the Dunbar store is left to Haider. Recently he earned a feather in his cap when headquarters deemed, based on his location’s excellent sales, the Dunbar store would receive a large renovation, which took place this past summer.

New flooring, lighting, a variety of new equipment and a shift in the floor plan transformed Mac’s. Throughout the construction process the business remained open, as Haider did not want to inconvenience his customers.

Today clients have even more selection from the new and upgraded equipment, which offers some of Mac’s mainstay products such as Frosters, Polar Pop, soft ice cream, milkshakes and coffee.

Macs_Dunbar_Life_Palla_Media_frosterFlavours have been added to the Polar Pop soda fountain station (with 20 flavours to choose from at an affordable 79 cents each). There are now 12 Frosters’ on tap, and nine flavours of soft ice cream and milkshakes.

Simply Great, a European brand, is the house coffee which is paired with a state of the art machine that can whip up a cappuccino, latte or mochaccino with one touch of a button. Coffee drinkers are responding favourably and there has been a substantial increase in sales.

Open 24 hours a day, year round, the store’s top selling items include Frosters, milk, candy and coffee. Other popular services include an ATM, and the sale of both transit and lottery tickets. Mac’s has recently introduced their own economical brand of spring water, soft drinks, potato chips, nuts and trail mix (look for the owl logo).

He and his wife Saba, who assists with the business, have a young family (two children ages 5 and 7). They enjoy seeing the shop as a family destination and mention children will drop in for a treat while their parents pick up supplies and look at the magazines.

Mac’s clientele is diverse. The morning tends to bring in older clients who pick up a newspaper and coffee. The afternoon sees working people, school kids and families walking through the door, while night owls (including university students) often come in to refuel with snacks and coffee.

Mac’s Roller Grill offers quick snacks for people on the go such as hot dogs, smokies, corn dogs, taquitos, spring rolls, breakfast burritos and chili cheese nachos. If you are looking for a fresh baked good to accompany a beverage the new Bakery to Go case offers muffins, cream cheese strudels, apple turnovers and chocolate chip cookies.

As a 24/7 business Mac’s is a go to store when other businesses are closed. Christmas and New Year’s Day are always exceptionally busy. Traditionally the convenience store offers customers free coffee on these special holidays.

Macs_Dunbar_Life_Palla_Media_extAs a marketing specialist Haider points out that Mac’s is a wonderful place for gift buying. Two racks are loaded with gift cards with something to please everyone on your list including Mac’s gift card (good for students and teachers), Canadian Tire, Cineplex, Facebook, Indigo, iTunes, Old Navy, SportChek, Starbucks, Subway, prepaid credit cards, and a variety of popular game cards.

Haider appreciates the value of marketing tools such as social media and has created a Mac’s at Dunbar Facebook page so customers can interact with their neighbourhood convenience store.

Going the extra mile for his customers is always at the top of Haider’s list. He mentions making home deliveries for a customer who was temporarily unable to leave the home, and he also recollects making a client’s day when she lost her wallet and never thought she would see it again. It’s all in a day’s work for this friendly business owner.

4470 Dunbar Street
Vancouver BC V6S 2G5
Telephone 604-736-9528

Hungry Dog Cafe

Wednesday, April 15th, 2015

A Doggone Good Restaurant:

Hungry Dog Cafe Sandie Noble Dunbar LifeWalking up the path to Hungry Dog Cafe is like arriving at a friend’s house for a meal. The little restaurant is located in a tiny house, located slightly west of Dunbar Street on West 29th Avenue.

Once inside Hungry Dog Cafe you will be greeted with a warm hello from proprietor Sandie Noble. No matter how busy she is, she seems capable of stopping to take the time to welcome guests to her “bucket list” cafe.

This diner is her dream come true. For a number of years she and her children’s father, Robert Noble, owned two Moonpennies Coffee and Fine Foods restaurants in down-town Vancouver. Looking for a change, but wanting to stay in the restaurant business, she decided to open a restaurant in Dunbar Village, which she has proudly called home since 1971.

In 2012, when she was on the verge of starting her new journey, Sandie Noble was diagnosed with breast cancer. Based on her strength and character she says, “I knew I’d get through it” and indeed she did. She says, “I hope to inspire other women to get through breast cancer by keeping their eye on the prize.” Sandie Noble got her prize. In September 2014 she completed her final treatment and returned to planning Hungry Dog Cafe’s opening.

The business officially opened in late November 2014. Sandie Noble is extremely grateful to her landlady, who she calls “an earth angel,” for patiently waiting for her to occupy the space.

The business name came to Sandie Noble because it was catchy. She laughs when she reports some people have mistaken the restaurant for a dog bakery, although she points out they do have doggie treats for dogs who patiently wait outside while their owners eat.

Hungry Dog Cafe interior Dunbar LifeHungry Dog Cafe is an inviting space with its cheerful yellow walls, dark brown ceiling, vibrant wall art, and pale wood floors. A glass display case separates the five-table dining room from the open kitchen where Sandie Noble and her son Robbie Noble can be seen effortlessly preparing meals. It always makes them smile to hear people exclaim “Wow!” when they walk through the door.

Sandie Noble is committed to serving fresh and wholesome food. She remarks, “This is food that I would serve my family and friends at home.” She uses her own recipes and believes in purchasing the food locally.

The restaurant is open for breakfast and lunch daily with a popular brunch menu on weekends. Hungry Dog Cafe serves breakfast all day for those who are seeking a tasty frittata including ham and cheese, three cheese, vegetarian or the Sunrise with eggs, peas, shredded carrots, honey ham, onions and Brie. The Road Trip breakfast features an English muffin with ham or bacon, cheddar cheese and egg.

The lunch menu includes sandwiches with fresh warm personal size baguettes as the foundation. These tasty baguettes from Vancouver’s Boulangerie La Parisienne bakery are purchased three-quarters cooked, with baking completed at Hungry Dog. Sandie Nobles says, “That way the bread is soft and warm inside and the crust is just right.”

There are a variety of sandwiches to satisfy any hungry dog.

Hungry Dog salads include a salad bursting with flavour featuring kale, chickpeas, feta, and lemon vinaigrette. The cheese tortellini salad with sun-dried tomatoes is another popular choice.

Housemade baked goods feature muffins, pies, cookies and loafs. Notable is the $1.50 a cup coffee and tea. It feels like stepping back in time to see such an affordable hot beverage.

In addition to serving meals in house Sandie and Robbie Noble (who was previously a sous chef at Earls) also run a busy catering service. She credits her son as “A hard worker and meticulous at his craft of cooking.” They are constantly inventing and trying new things. Sandie Noble confesses that inspiration can hit at anytime, including when they watch the Food Network. The pair will exclaim, “We can do that!”

This business owner is 100 per cent grateful to be living her dream and sharing her passion with her neighbourhood.

“It’s all about passion,” Sandie Noble says, and this is undoubtedly a large part of Hungry Dog Cafe’s success. Her love of food and people comes shining through. She is humble and is deeply appreciative for the support of Robert Noble (who co-owns the business) and their two other adult children, Annie and Connor, who are always willing to lend a hand.

Hungry Dog Cafe exterior Dunbar LifeWith warmer weather arriving there are plans to open an outdoor patio. The demand for more tables certainly exists as an increasing number of people flock to the restaurant. Sandie Noble reports, “The reception from the community has been outstanding” and one of the most satisfying comments this devoted restaurant owner hears from content diners is, “We’ll be back.”



Hungry Dog Cafe
3625 W 29th Ave
Vancouver BC V6S 2G4
Telephone 604-657-5481

Tryphe Specialty Foods

Tuesday, December 2nd, 2014

Tryphe_deli_Dunbar_Life_Palla_MediaFrom the moment I walked into Tryphe Specialty Foods, owner Jacqueline Cheung made me feel right at home. We sat down at a window seat table where I indulged in a 49th Parallel drip coffee and some tasty baked goods (apple cake, dark pumpkin chocolate brownie and lavender vanilla shortbread), while she shared her story.

What inspires her to run a small business? She says,

“It brings me joy to make people happy through the products I sell.”

I asked Cheung how she chose the name Tryphe (pronounced tri-fee) for her store that opened almost two years ago. In her search for a name she discovered this Greek word and felt it was a perfect fit as “delicacies” are at the heart of her fine food shop.

Tryphe_Cheung_Dunbar_Life_Palla_MediaAfter exploring various areas to situate her business she determined Dunbar was the most desirable neighbourhood (and the most beautiful too). The storefront was formerly a flower shop and underwent an extensive renovation. The earth tone colours are inviting, as are elegant touches such as chandeliers and décor ranging from friendly garden gnomes to pots of lavender.

With a marketing and business plan in place, an unexpected blessing came her way; she and her husband were overjoyed to discover they were expecting a baby. This also posed a challenge, to establish and run her new business while she was pregnant and afterwards as a new mother.

Now that her daughter is a toddler Cheung is coming up for air and dreaming even bigger dreams for Tryphe. She envisions offering soups and sandwiches for the lunch crowd. She is working on expanding the selection of pre-made take home meals. Cheung highly recommends Tryphe’s homemade lamb stew, curries and soups that are sold frozen. Take them home, heat them up and nobody has to know that you had a little help with dinner that night!

Cheung is excited to be serving Vancouver’s own 49th Parallel coffee, brewed individually for customers one cup at a time for optimum freshness.

A few of the gourmet pantry essentials that line the well stocked shelves include vinegar, honey, oil, salsa, spreads, mustard, dried pasta, grilling sauces, tea and hot chocolate. Many of the products are fair trade and gluten-free.

Tryphe is best known for its quality meat.

Cheung says Tryphe is best known for its quality meat. Customers come from across the Lower Mainland for the aged beef steaks, along with Australian lamb racks, pork chops, pork belly, duck breasts, all natural chicken products from the Fraser Valley, and naturally smoked bacon.

Ocean Wise seafood is also sold. In the display glass a sampling of what you will find includes wild fish (sockeye salmon, halibut, sablefish), shellfish (crab, sea urchin) and seasonal fish (wild sea bass, wild monkfish and lobster tails).

If you are unable to travel to Tryphe, Cheung is happy to provide a home delivery service to select areas for purchases over $50. Simply submit your order by phone, text or via WhatsApp and for a small delivery fee it will arrive at your doorstep.

Baked goods are a new addition to the store. A part-time baker comes in several times a week and customers have been giving two thumbs up to the lavender vanilla shortbread cookies, cheddar bay scones, rocky road cookies, and the Okanagan ambrosia apple cake.

For Cheung food is all about quality ingredients. She says that a healthy lifestyle includes eating less meat, while the meat you consume should be high quality. She suggests it is better for your health to eat less food in general but to deeply appreciate the food that you eat.

Tryphe_interior_Dunbar_Life_Palla_MediaCheung moved to Vancouver with her family from Hong Kong 20 years ago. The fresh air and beautiful scenery were the first things to get her attention. She also noticed that the people are friendly and she thought Vancouver would be a perfect city to raise a family.

Being a part of the Dunbar business community is very important to Cheung and she is very fond of all her loyal customers.

She feels independent businesses build strong communities by connecting neighbours, and through their contribution to the local economy. She says, “When shopping locally you also receive excellent customer service and advice directly from business owners.“

Tryphe_exterior_Dunbar_Life_Palla_MediaThis busy mother and entrepreneur can be found at Tryphe five days a week as she juggles childcare with her husband. She also has assistance from four part-time staff.

Away from the shop Cheung values her time with her husband and their little girl. They enjoy going for walks in the park and spending time at the playground, or sifting through antique stores in search of treasures. In addition, Cheung is an avid cook and just as she enjoys making people happy at Tryphe Specialty Foods, she also derives pleasure from cooking and entertaining at home.

Are you looking for a unique Christmas present? Gift certificates are always popular, or Cheung and her staff will be happy to assist in building a gift basket. You are also welcome to design your own basket. Stock it with kitchen essentials and you are bound to make a chef very happy on Christmas morning.

Tryphe Specialty Foods
4495 Dunbar Street
Vancouver BC V6S 2G4
Telephone 604-879-7439

Kokopelli Cafe

Thursday, August 23rd, 2012

The bond of friendship can brew great ideas.

Cindy Delgado and Jessica Hotz met in 2002 when their oldest children were in preschool. They lamented that although Dunbar was an ideal community to raise their respective families, there was a missing link, namely a cafe that would welcome parents and children with open arms and offer fresh and healthy food, like you would find at home.

On their wish list for a family friendly cafe were special touches that only parents would think of, such as a wide doorway and aisle to accommodate double strollers, a washroom with a child-sized sink, a change table, and of course a great play space for children.

Their vision for Kokopelli Cafe was born, and the business has flourished for seven years under the ownership of Delgado and Hotz, keeping families happy and well nourished.

After three months of major renovations to transform the space that was previously a green grocer, and prior to that a bakery, Kokopelli was open for business. All the food that they serve is made in the cafe’s kitchen daily from scratch. They are proud to offer healthy alternatives and tasty gluten-free options.

Choices abound on the impressive menu. Hot and cold beverages include coffee, tea, hot chocolate, iced drinks and blended “Frapelli” drinks. If you are looking for something to tantalize your taste buds the vast selection of baked goods ranges from carrot cake, to loaves (lemon, chocolate chunk zucchini and the Maui loaf, laden with coconut, pineapple and banana), brownies, muffins, scones, cookies and banana bread. Another treat is the mini donut muffin which tastes like a donut, but is not fried.

The breakfast and lunch menu is abundant. Breakfast croissants, yogurt and granola, wraps (the Southwest wrap features black beans, cheese, brown rice and cilantro), quiche, quinoa salad and sandwiches (including Tuscan chicken and Portobello mushroom). Not forgotten are their youngest customers, who can order grilled cheese sandwiches, yogurt, fresh fruit, baby food in jars and Baby Mum-Mum rice biscuits.

Not only can you enjoy food fresh from Kokopelli’s kitchen while you are at the cafe, but you can also take it home. These smart thinking entrepreneurs also sell their own granola, which is so popular that it is now available at Stong’s, IGA and The Heights Market. Some local bed and breakfasts also serve it at their tables.

Designed to make your life simpler, Kokopelli offers frozen take-home entrees and soups. This is a growing business for them and Hotz promises it “tastes just like it would at home, if you had the time to make it yourself.” Their macaroni and cheese and chicken pot pie are very popular. They also sell frozen scones that you simply pop in your oven and take credit for – it can be your little secret. Delgado and Hotz take great pride in everything that they serve and believe “if it’s not good enough for us, it’s not good enough for you.”

Hotz has a degree in food and hotel management, and comes from a marketing and consulting background. Delgado has a background in business. Hotz is full of praise for Delgado’s culinary skills. She believes Delgado’s love of baking and food preparation breeds great food, and the business partners look for those same qualities in their kitchen staff. They have found those attributes in culinary trained Heather Eddy, who runs the kitchen along with the rest of the team. As well, several employees work behind the counter in this busy cafe.

Delgado and Hotz delight in giving back to their community through volunteer work. Both of them are actively involved with their children’s schools. In addition, Hotz has been a board member with Dunbar Village Business Association since its inception five years ago. They both believe strongly in this community which feels like a small town where people know and care about each other.

What Delgado and Hotz offer Dunbar is exemplified by the story of a customer who was expecting her first baby. She did not know anyone in the community until she discovered Kokopelli and became a regular customer. She made friends through the cafe, and was deeply appreciative for Kokopelli’s existence. It is stories like these that Delgado and Hotz find deeply gratifying.

The namesake behind the business, Kokopelli, the south-western flute playing deity who spreads joy to people, has certainly infused himself within the walls of this warm and homelike cafe. Delgado and Hotz, your mission has been accomplished.

Kokopelli Cafe
4593 Dunbar Street

Bean Around the World

Tuesday, February 14th, 2012

Bean Around the World is a neighbourhood coffee house buzzing with energy. Tan Tran, the charming owner with a warm and welcoming smile, has put his personal stamp on his coffee shop. With its mustard and red accent walls, black wainscoting, eclectic artwork, and a cozy corner with two chairs to snuggle up in beside a gas fireplace, complete with a chess board and a bookshelf which is a lending library, the atmosphere evokes the feeling of an inviting living room.

Tran opened Bean Around the World in May 2005. He felt that the south end of Dunbar was in need of a coffee house, and he particularly liked the idea of being in a community where people could walk to his business from their homes.  In addition, he was attracted to the building that houses Bean Around the World.  His diverse customer base includes everyone from bus drivers, to teachers, police officers, students, and construction workers.  Over the years Tran has shared some important milestones with his customers as they have welcomed new babies, students have headed off to university, and families have moved in and out of the community.


There are currently twenty one Bean Around the World locations in British Columbia. Each coffee house is independently owned and operated, allowing owners, like Tran, to personalize their business, and not convey a cookie cutter feeling.  The common denominator is the coffee. Coffee beans are centrally roasted in North Vancouver and are supplied to Bean Around the World coffee shops.

Tran describes his business as a hybrid coffee house/bistro. Beer and wine is available at lunch.  The creative menu has the ability to make you smile before you even taste the food.  Try not to grin when you order a Gobbler sandwich (artisan pecan/craisin bread, with smoked turkey, red onions, garlic butter, honey Dijon and cheddar) or the Chickalish wrap (chicken, masala, lentil, curry).  Other temptations include the divine Namaste sandwich (marinated grilled veggies, pesto sauce, provolone and smoked gouda) as well as the Spirit Park muffin (made with spelt flour), carrot cake, squares, breakfast sandwiches and on the day that I was there, African Safari soup.  The wheat free and gluten free pastries are very popular items.

Tran comes to the world of coffee from a diverse background, having worked in a variety of fields including the food and beverage industry, insurance, Information Technology (IT), importing Asian groceries and goods, and as a paralegal. Tran is well travelled and has witnessed coffee culture in many parts of the world.   Born in Vietnam, he spent his childhood in Hong Kong, Winnipeg and Vancouver. As an adult he lived in Montreal for a few years, but was drawn back to the West Coast.

His decision to open Bean Around the World stemmed from a desire for a new life style. He is a self-described “people person”, and his goal is to bring happiness and laughter to his customers. Judging by the full tables, and the satisfied look on his customers’ faces, Tran has worked his magic.  He has a strong social conscience, he is doing his part to keep his business ethical, and he is committed to fair trade.  Tran is quick to give credit to his staff of seven who are an asset to the business. They contribute to the welcoming environment, and enjoy working at the busy coffee shop.

He gauges the success of his business by the loyalty and continued support of his customers; many treat the coffee shop as their second home.  It is open seven days a week and on weekdays you can grab your first eye opening coffee as early as 6 a.m. (weekends 7 a.m.). The shop is open until 6 p.m. nightly.  Bean Around the World supports local fundraising and charity events through the donation of coffee.
In December 2011, Tran opened his second business, Blaq Sheep Coffee House & Bistro, in Yaletown.  He splits his time between the two businesses; however Dunbar customers are sure to see him each day.   He lives in the Dunbar area and not surprisingly Tran’s favourite thing about the community is the people.

Coffee is one of my greatest indulgences, and I attest that Bean Around the World makes a fine cup of coffee, and furthermore, Tran made good on his promise; I walked out the door with a smile on my face.

5601 Dunbar Street

by Sarah Gordon, photos by Sandra Steier