Posts Tagged ‘drink’

Dunbar Dairy Queen & Orange Julius

Thursday, June 22nd, 2017

Ten Years of Tempting Treats. The warm weather has finally arrived and it’s officially ice cream season! Simon and Jessica Tran’s Dunbar Dairy Queen/Orange Julius franchise is a year round destination, yet summer is by far their busiest season as hot Dunbarites come in looking for their favourite frozen treats and beverages.

The couple are thrilled to be celebrating their tenth year as DQ franchise owners. Simon admits that winter was challenging with multiple snowfalls followed by the wettest spring in many years, but they are grateful to their customers who continued to come in for DQ’s treats (Blizzards, soft ice cream, sundaes and legendary ice cream cakes), and Orange Julius’ drinks and hot dogs.

Prior to being a DQ franchise owner Simon worked as a crane operator. When he decided it was time for a career change, a friend who owns a DQ franchise suggested Simon explore this option. Simon was convinced – he believed in the product and signed up.

In 2008 the Dunbar DQ store was new to the area; DQ’s corporate office made the decision to put in a small-scale treat centre rather than a full service DQ grill.

Dunbar’s DQ has succeeded thanks to exceptional products and outstanding customer service.

Simon and Jessica work as a team – he makes the cakes and she decorates them. Customers can order from the extensive designs offered or they can request a custom cake.

He makes the ice cream cakes three times a week for optimum freshness. The store was originally equipped with three display cases but due to the popularity of the cakes he expanded to five cases. “My cakes have to be the freshest in town. I make them as I go. I don’t have the space to store them.” In addition, he also makes the DQ Sandwiches and Dilly Bars.

Dunbar DQ’s top seller is the Dunbar Special Blizzard. Simon laughs and says, “It is also known as the Simon Special.”

This popular Blizzard is created with Reese’s peanut butter, a cookie layer and a shot of liquid peanut butter sauce.

Simon is extremely warm and jovial and is instantly likeable. He and Jessica are originally from Vietnam and both were boat people. Jessica started her new life as a Canadian in Edmonton while Simon lived in Halifax. They met in Vancouver in 1989 and married soon afterward.

Simon bounced around between foster homes and group homes until he was adopted at age 12. He has only positive words to say about his Canadian parents. Regarding his tough early years Simon says, “It made me wiser and stronger. I didn’t have anything until my parents took me in and gave me unconditional love.” His optimistic attitude did not allow him to give up. Simon is very humble and wants to share his story to let others know that it is possible to turn your life around.

Like many small business people Simon works incredibly long hours. For many years he clocked 16-hour days and it caught up with him. He was missing spending time with his young son and he decided he couldn’t do that anymore; he has managed to shorten his days to a mere 12 hours. He smiles and says, “I am blessed and I am happy.”

He doesn’t know where he and Jessica would be without her parents who help with their 8-year-old son TJ. Simon is also extremely grateful for his older daughter Vanesa who is now in nursing school; she assisted her mother and father for many years at the shop. TJ also likes to lend a hand sweeping floors and cleaning windows. Simon believes in starting early to instill a strong work ethic.

“I feel so blessed that I am part of this wonderful community.” Simon Tran

Dunbar DQ believes in giving back to the community that actively supports them; one way they do this is through donations to schools. Simon mentions all of the school kids who come by for treats. He says, “May is my favourite month when students I have seen grow up come in to tell me where they are going to university in the fall. Some will return later to tell me how they are doing.”

Celebrating a 10-year anniversary is a milestone for any business. For Simon the most important message to communicate to Dunbar Life readers is his how thankful he is for their patronage. He says, “What I most appreciate about Dunbar is the people – the families and the kids who have supported me for the last 10 years. Please mention that, won’t you?” I remind Simon that what you give out is what you get back – he likes that.

Dunbar Dairy Queen/Orange Julius
3380 Dunbar Street, Vancouver BC V6S 2C1
Telephone 604-733-2884


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