Posts Tagged ‘sandwich’

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
www.stongs.com

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

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