People on the North Shore were as obsessed with local restaurants and drinkeries as ever this year – especially as coronavirus concerns dwindled like a puff of steam off a hot dish.
Eager to return to the world of sociable consumption, our readers were keen as ever to read about new offerings, with stories in this category consistently drawing high page views.
Here’s our list of the most-read food and drink stories of 2022, followed by honourable mentions and a nod to notable losses in the community.
1. The Raven
This year has been an emotional rollercoaster for fans of one of the North Shore’s most iconic watering holes.
In June, word got out that Deep Cove’s The Raven had fallen into disrepair and might be shutting its doors for good. Where would the neighbourhood debauchees end their pub crawls then?
But with a stroke of Irish luck, a Hibernian pub chain took over the establishment and promised to restore the cherished pub to its glory days. At the end of November, IRL Group made good on its promise and The Raven re-opened after a $500,000 renovation.
“The legend lives on,” reads a sign above the door.
Speaking of iconic, Douce Diner in North Vancouver has been featured in multiple films and commercials, and is owned by the granddaughter of Earls founder Leroy Earl “Bus” Fuller.
Douce is known as one of the cutest breakfast and lunch spots around, and now owner Dawn Doucette has opened her diner for nighttime parties. She calls the new campaign Douce After Dark.
While the diner closes at 3 p.m. daily, it can now be booked every evening for private parties, cooking classes or other dining events guests are looking for.
Founded by three grads from West Van and their Vancouver friend, the “bodega boys” opened a location of their growing imported treat business in Central Lonsdale this May.
While you won’t find a bag of plain Lays, you can pick up some Strawberry Yogurt Sunchips air-shipped from Thailand, with a bottle of Flaming Hot Mountain Dew to wash them down.
4. Nomad Coffee
Also opening in May was Nomad Coffee, the first café in North Vancouver to ditch the use of single-use cups.
Instead of a disposable vessel, customers are encouraged to BYOC (bring your own cup), or buy one of the reusable options for sale, ranging from $3 to $22. You can also rent a Mason jar for $2, which is refunded upon return.
Owner Anette Kim said she got the idea after transitioning to zero-waste policies at her Bean Around the World location in Lower Lonsdale.
As new breweries continue to pop up in North Van, a few novel beverage producers joined them this year.
One of those is Windfall Cider, one of the only places in the province to make hard cider on site in an urban area. Employing yeasts familiar to beer drinkers, Windfall’s selection of dry ciders drink closer to what you might expect from a craft IPA than a Strongbow.
The cidery had another surprise this year, when it launched a fantastic food menu prepared by rising star chef Douglas Lee.
Honourable mentions and farewells
In our year-end wrap-up of noteworthy openings, we’d be remiss not to mention Shaketown Brewing Co. and Copperpenny Distillery. Both of them are unique and welcome additions to the small-batch alcohol community.
On a somber note, North Shore diners said goodbye to a number of cherished favourites in 2022.
In September, the Cheshire Cheese – one of Lonsdale Quay’s original tenants – closed without much ado. “After 36 years, we’re happy with where we’re at,” the restaurant’s manager said. Downstairs, Green Leaf Brewing shut its doors, with its owner claiming that the landlord unfairly denied his business an option to renew its lease. Lonsdale Quay refuted his claims. Legal matters have not yet been settled.
The North Vancouver market also said a final farewell to Ralf Dauns, owner of The Soup Meister. The beloved chef served his heartwarming recipes for nearly 27 years while he served the community by hiring troubled youth and lending a hand to others in need.
West Van lost its own culinary legend, as Michel Segur died in December. The restaurant he founded, Chez Michel, is renowned for its fresh take on French cuisine as well as excellent hospitality. Segur himself was a respected cook and mentor figure to aspiring chefs.
After serving no-frills classic fare for two decades, the High Boat Café in Mosquito Creek closed its doors for good in April, citing a lack of funds to continue operations.