Vintage diners & restaurants
Restaurants come and go, in foodie-centric Vancouver especially, which is why it’s nice to see a handful of mid-century joints still doing what they do best. We’ll keep adding to this list, but for now here’s a sampling of our favorite vintage eats in Vancouver… click on addresses below for Google map locations.
Save on Meats Diner & Butcher Shop (43 West Hastings Street ) – Serving comfort food staples such as chicken dinner, burgers and all day breakfast, this vintage-style diner (complete with bar stools and leatherette booths) started in 1957 as a classic sandwich counter at the back of the Save on Meats butcher shop. Re-envisioned by Mark Brand in 2011 as a socially motivated enterprise that serves the community in ways seldom seen before, Save On Meats is now Canada’s first Certified B Corporation Diner and Butcher Shop. Oh, and the iconic neon pig sign out front? It’s the 1957 original!
The Tomahawk Barbeque (1515 Phillip Avenue ) – This busy North Vancouver restaurant with its diner-style lunch counter and assorted First Nations artifacts & bric-a-brac is, simply put, glorious longhouse kitsch! Known for their large portions and retro placemats – which depict hilarious, politically incorrect 1960s cartoon maps of Canada – the Tomahawk Barbeque has been doing business since 1926 (in this location since 1960) and has been featured on many TV travel shows including Guy Fieri’s Diners, Drive-ins & Dives.
The Templeton Diner (1087 Granville Street ) – A vintage downtown diner with lunch counter bar stools & leatherette booths that boast genuine Wall-O-Matic Jukebox consollettes (which are very cool and really work!), the petite Templeton Diner has been in business since the 1950s and serves up classic and elevated diner fare including excellent organic, gluten-free and vegan options. Modernist hipsters love the joint, especially for brunch, so arrive early if you want to avoid a line up.
Hy’s Encore (637 Hornby Street ) – Okay, it’s definitely not a diner, but this timeless, upscale Steak House & Cocktail Bar is a must if you’re in the mood for a more Rat Pack imbued modernist experience. Since 1955 Hy’s Encore has hosted world class entertainers like Mitzi Gaynor and Leontyne Price in classic mid-century style and more recently introduced a Mad Men inspired happy hour menu from which you could sample Jumbo Prawn Cocktail and Oysters Rockefeller or imbibe in a Don Draper Old Fashioned or a Peggy Olsen Manhattan.
50s Burgers (7741 Edmunds St., Burnaby) – This neighborhood fixture in South Burnaby is about a 30 minute drive from downtown Vancouver but for fans of ’50s & ’60s drive-in culture it’s probably worth the commute. One of the last original burger stands in the Greater Vancouver area, 50s Burgers has been serving up home style fast food since 1961 when it was known as the Tomahawk Drive-In (no relation to the above noted Tomahawk BBQ), then later as Lindy’s Burger & Sandwich Bar and Lost in the 50s. A hot spot over the years for vintage car collectors, teenagers, hipsters and working class regulars to hang out at, this tiny place has gone through many changes but still packs ’em in – and with its original neon arrow sign out front still fully functional, you may very well feel “lost in the 50s” yourself, at this joint.
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