Posts Tagged ‘dinner’

The Dunbar Public House

Saturday, April 29th, 2017

Dunbar Pub drink crowd Palla MediaWhere Friends Gather.

For the past nine years The Dunbar Public House has been Dunbar’s hang out. Dima Mekhlis is the soft-spoken, friendly owner of this restaurant where locals drop in to enjoy a bite to eat, have a drink and watch a game on one of the establishment’s three flat screen TVs.

The corner restaurant is a wonderful spot to meet for dinner before or after a movie at Dunbar Theatre.

It has a pub-like feel but is completely family friendly; for many years it was a diner. Dima says, “Many of those patrons grew up and progressed from milkshakes to beer.” Long term Dunbar residents may remember the location was previously a bike shop and a pharmacy.

The wall is decorated with an assortment of jerseys, including hockey, soccer and baseball. The Dunbar Public House staff is always happy to tune in to whatever sporting event customers’ request. Dima admits his favourite team is the Canucks, especially during playoff season.

Originally from Ukraine, Dima spent his high school and college years in Israel. He has lived in Vancouver for the past 18 years and is the proud father of two daughters.

Dunbar Pub drink burger Palla MediaThe menu highlights pub fare. The house-made hamburgers are the restaurant’s specialty, and what goes better with a burger and fries than a nice cold beer? Some of the featured items include the 29th Ave Burger (in honour of their location at Dunbar Street and West 29th Avenue) with goat cheese and avocado. Also on the menu you will find the lamb burger, the Cajun chicken and tuna burgers and the veggie burger with sautéed mushrooms and Swiss cheese.

Sandwiches, house-made soup and salads and tempting appies including nachos, chicken tenders, perogies, poutine, pork dry ribs and steamed edamame are also available.

Dunbar Pub drink nachos Palla MediaIn addition to the lunch and dinner menu, The Dunbar Public House offers a brunch menu every Saturday and Sunday between 11:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. (and on statutory holidays). A veggie omelette is offered along with eggs Benedict, Montreal meat hash, steak or bacon and eggs, or the Dunbar skillet (veggies, two poached eggs, hollandaise, with your choice of bacon, chorizo, BBQ pulled pork, or smoked salmon). Add a mimosa or a craft Caesar if you like to kick-start your day!

Check out the board to see the daily specials (drinks and food) and don’t miss happy hour every day from 3:00 to 6:00 p.m. and 10:00 p.m. until closing. Open seven days a week until midnight (until 1:00 a.m. Thursday through Saturday), this is one of Dunbar’s only late night hangouts.

Dunbar Pub drink beer Palla MediaThe Dunbar Public House serves eight draft beers and also is a keen supporter of local craft beers. In total there are 21 bottled beers to choose from. Patrons can look forward to light ales as the summer months approach.

Enticing draft cocktails include the Snake Bite (Strongbow cider, Howe Sound lager and blackcurrant juice) and the Creamsicle (Kronenbourg 1664 Blanc and a shot of Absolut Mandarin). Regular cocktails such as the Bicycle (Vanilla Stoli mixed with lemonade) and the Stress Reliever (vodka, dark rum, peach schnapps, cranberry and orange juice) are sure to wet your whistle.

What makes this restaurant stand out? Dima says, “I believe it is my friendly staff; many are long time employees.”

Dunbar Pub drink Dima Mekhlis Palla MediaHis staff is a group of energetic young people who help to provide an exciting and eclectic environment. Some of them are locals while others come from other parts of Canada and around the globe.

“As a long term community restaurant we care about the neighbourhood.” Dima Mekhlis

He adds, “It’s all about team effort here. The neighbourhood is very special too.” Many customers live in the area and are loyal customers. Dima enjoys his role in offering an environment where good memories are created.

Mark your calendar for Mother’s Day and treat mum to brunch. Close down the home kitchen – breakfast in bed is nice – but going out and having the option to order off a menu earns brownie points!

Dunbar Pub drink 4497 Palla MediaThe south facing patio is a popular place to sit year round thanks to the overhead heaters. People watch, enjoy the sun, wave to your neighbours as they pass by, and best of all, if you are a local, stroll home after a drink and meal. After all, that’s the beauty of having a local public house in your community.

The Dunbar Public House
4497 Dunbar Street
Vancouver, BC V6S 2G4
Telephone 604-222-9922
www.thedunbar.ca

Mexicali

Tuesday, December 6th, 2016

mexicali-burrito-dunbar-life-palla-mediaA Taste of Mexico on Dunbar

If you are craving Mexican food, Mexicali is the place to visit for a casual meal. Lee Quang’s customers fondly refer to him as Señor Lee, and he is Dunbar’s purveyor of Californian style Mexican food.

Mexicali has been located in Dunbar for 12 years. Prior to that it was situated on Arbutus Street for 12 years before being destroyed by a fire. Quang was determined to find another West Side location to keep his loyal customers happy and knew he had hit the jackpot when he found Mexicali’s current home.

mexicali-lee-quang-dunbar-life-palla-mediaQuang arrived in Canada from Vietnam in 1988. He learned the art of cooking Mexican food when he worked in the kitchen at Las Margaritas restaurant on West 4th Avenue. This style of cooking is far from his native Vietnamese cuisine but he learned on the job. He has words of praise for the original owners of Las Margaritas who not only trained him but also were extremely supportive when he ventured out on his own. He says, “They became like family and taught me a lot.”

The small restaurant’s décor spotlights Mexicali’s logo (a cartoon chili pepper donning a sombrero) painted on the back wall. In addition, a large mural wraps around the restaurant to create the atmosphere of being on a tropical beach at sunset with palm trees swaying in the warm breeze. Background music, Tejano style, plays over the sound system and gets toes tapping as you dine.

Mexicali is known for its large portions and very reasonable prices.

What is Quang’s secret? Customers order their meal at the counter, pay, and the food is delivered to the table. There are three kitchen staff, including Quang who must have a carbon copy of himself, because he is also out on the floor serving; it is almost as if he is a one-man show and he says this assists in keeping his costs down. Remarkably, he makes it look easy. He smiles and agrees but humbly adds that it is thanks to many of his regular customers who know the menu inside out, which simplifies his job.

He mentions that the community is very loyal, from families with young children to teenagers and adults; people are drawn to the tasty and filling meals. Like clockwork, after he mentions the support of students, a troop of St. George’s students files in to place their lunchtime order before heading back to class.

What do they keep coming back for? Diners are drawn to his quality ingredients and recipes, which are made as low fat as possible. While Mexican food can be spicy, Mexicali’s dishes are made to be on the mild side, although if you request spicy they are happy to turn up the heat!

A number of dietary requirements can be accommodated, from vegetarian to gluten free, nut free, low sodium and low fat. MSG is not found in any of the kitchen’s products and the cooks avoid preservatives to their greatest ability.

Freshness is the name of the game at Mexicali. Quang likes to shop locally and purchases much of his produce at Dunbar Produce. He points out the local merchants are his friends.

The menu includes quesadillas and other snacks (tacos, Redondo rollups) and appetizers (nachos, guacamole, chips and salsa, soups and salads). Entrees feature burritos, chile relleno, enchiladas, tamales, arroz con pollo (rice with chicken), chile con carne and vegetarian chili.

mexicali-4424-dunbar-life-palla-mediaMenu standouts are the lunchtime specials, which offer unbelievable value. Quang indicates the teenage crowd is drawn to these specials because they include Mexi fries and a beverage. A favourite is the beef Redondo rollup – a grilled tortilla filled with ground beef, spices, lettuce, cheese, salsa and sour cream. The other crowd-pleasing specials are the soft or crunchy (your choice) beef tacos and the enchilada with rice and a choice of refried or black beans.

Don’t forget to try the housemade salsa, Quang is extremely proud of it.

Mexicali is not a licensed restaurant therefore expect a virgin margarita made with pure fruits and juices. The “slighty slushy Mexican limonada” is another popular beverage.

This busy restaurant owner has a young family (two daughters), works seven days a week and rarely takes holidays, yet he keeps smiling. He loves what he does for a living and it shows.

mexicali-4424-dunbar-palla-mediaWhat is the most rewarding part of owning and operating his business? Quang is quick to point out it is his customers. He says, “They are very nice and supportive.” He mentions that his customers come from all over to dine at his establishment and while some have moved away from the area they return for a meal at Mexicali, which he appreciates.

Running a restaurant is not an easy job. The hours are long; the rising cost of food makes keeping menu prices affordable a challenge and competition can be fierce. Quang has obviously found the magic formula – he is still smiling and relaxed after 24 years of running his own business!

Bring in this Dunbar Life article between November 15 through January 15 (offer valid from 3:00 to 8:00 p.m.) and receive a 20% discount on dine in orders.

Mexicali
4424 Dunbar Street
Vancouver BC V6S 2G5
Telephone 604-731-6517
www.mexicali.ca

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.

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

www.saveonfoods.com

Dunbar Pizza and Grill

Tuesday, February 16th, 2016

Where Italy Meets India

Dunbar Pizza Jasvir Nandda Dunbar LifeJasvir Nandda is the jovial owner of Dunbar Pizza, a business he has proudly run for 17 years. The menu is as unique as the inviting aroma of pizza and Indian cuisine, which mingle and fill the air. Nandda’s genuine warmth makes you feel like you have stepped into his home kitchen.

Don’t be surprised if he calls you “my friend” as that is what you will quickly become when you converse.

Up front the establishment is small, with a window counter and seating for a handful of people. Behind the scenes the deep restaurant houses pizza ovens, walk in coolers, a big gas stove and more fry pans and pizza boxes than you can shake a stick at.

Nandda is originally from the city of Jalandhar, located in the state of Punjab, India where several generations of his family, dating back to his grandfather, worked in the restaurant industry. Their specialty was Indian food and sweets. His father and uncle worked as cooks, although he points out his mother’s important role was to be the “home boss.”

In 1993 Nandda moved to Canada to join relatives here. He loves his life in his adopted country and does not miss the pollution or the hot climate he left behind. He also appreciates how safe Canada is in comparison.

After working in various professions he decided to take a risk and open his own business based on his experience as a cook. He thanks a friend of his brother-in-law for encouraging him to purchase a pizza business.

Why set up shop in Dunbar? He explains it took time to find the right location. Two attempts to lease businesses in North Vancouver and New Westminster fell through, and then one day he was visiting Dunbar and spotted a for rent sign in the window. He had finally found a home for his business, which was formerly a pizza restaurant.

Capital outlay for equipment was a consideration when he started out and therefore he started only making pizza. Two years later he introduced Indian food to the menu. He started slowly. Samosas were the first item to debut. A clever marketer, when customers would purchase a pizza Nandda would tempt them with a couple of complimentary samosas.

Today his Indian food is as popular as his pizza. Customers go wild for his butter chicken in addition to the lamb korma and spinach lamb. Those items are only the tip of the iceberg; the Indian menu features appetizers (pakoras, samosas), lamb, chicken and a good selection of vegetarian dishes. Tandoori breads (naan, parantha and roti) and a number of biryani rice dishes round out the Indian menu.

Flip the menu and a long list of pizzas can be found ranging from the Dunbar Special to international salutes to India, Italy and Greece. Nandda says the most popular choices are the Canadian, butter chicken and Hawaiian pizza.

High school students are big fans of Dunbar Pizza. They sweep in during lunch hour and after school for pizza by the slice.

Special prices on pizza by the slice (based on volume) make a meal even more enticing with a can of pop included to sweeten the deal.

Remarkably, in addition to pizza and Indian food Nandda also offers Greek and Italian cuisine. Craving souvlaki, spaghetti, lasagna or barbeque baby ribs? No worries, he has you covered.

“We are so lucky to have so many culinary options in this multicultural city.” Jasvir Nandda

What does he enjoy most about the business? He says eating what he cooks ranks high on the list. He enjoys the variety of pizza and Indian food and says he doesn’t have a favourite dish.

Dunbar Pizza exterior Dunbar LifeHis customers make the long hours well worth it. Many of them are locals and have been supporting his business for years. When people call him for deliveries (a big part of his business) often he is so well acquainted with them that he knows their order. He says some customers will even let him select on their behalf.

Living in Surrey means long days for this hard working business owner. The restaurant is open seven days a week until late at night. Nandda likes to spend his limited free time with his wife and two teenagers. Vacations don’t happen often, in fact it was three years ago that he was last in India.

With a smile on his face, Nandda concludes,” I am born to work.” Based on the pizzas that my children tried and gave two thumbs up, I would also add he was born to cook. I will be back to try the Indian fare.

Dunbar Pizza & Grill
3348 Dunbar Street
Vancouver BC V6S 2C1
Telephone 604-732-4999