Pride 2014: Where to eat in the West End on Vancouver Pride Parade day
Whether you’re a Vancouver Pride Parade virgin, a devoted attendee, or a participant, get ready to cheer and dance in this joyful celebration of the diversity of our LGBT communities this Sunday (August 3). Don’t forget, however, that all the nonstop hooting at the hotties on the floats necessitates some serious fuelling up before and after the parade. Here are some recommendations on where to eat on the big day.
Breka Bakery & Cafe (818 Bute Street, 855 Davie Street)
Pop by to get an espresso and a breakfast treat to kick-start your system before the parade streamers and fanfare begin. You may wish for your future waistline’s sake that you hadn’t been introduced to their Copenhagen, a decadent Danish topped with custard and filled with chopped hazelnuts. Other highlights at this European bakery include almond chocolate croissants, cheese scones, and apple strudel slices. Some quick, easy-to-carry options for lunch are beef sausage rolls and Montreal smoked-meat sandwiches on rye.
Joe’s Grill (948 Denman Street, 1031 Davie Street)
This West End stalwart is the classic Pride Parade greasy-spoon pick. The all-day breakfast menu does the trick if you’re nursing a Pride weekend hangover or just need a no-fuss meal. The Basic gets you two eggs any style, pan-fried potatoes, toast, and a choice of bacon, sausage, or ham. Omelette selections include the Popeye with sautéed spinach, and Joe’s Special with tomato, onion, mushrooms, and plenty of Cheddar cheese. Or order a breakfast wrap to go—with green pepper, mushroom, bacon, sausage, black and baked beans, and spicy tomato sauce—for noshing while watching the parade.
Morocco West (795 Jervis Street)
Just off the Robson Street part of the parade route, this restaurant offers a different take on brunch, with a Moroccan Benny featuring two poached eggs, merguez sausage, onion confit, mint, hummus, and sweet paprika hollandaise sauce. “You’re going to be really full. There’s plenty of protein,” says Kevin Lin, general manager and co-owner, during a chat at the restaurant. Another hearty choice is the lamb sandwich, with fig chutney, green-lentil spread, goat cheese, mint, baby arugula, and harissa mayonnaise. Lin also suggests grabbing a seat post-parade on the rainbow-hued patio during happy hour (3 p.m. to 6 p.m.) to take advantage of the $4 house wine and bottled beers, along with snacks such as Moroccan meatballs and beer-battered prawns.
Buck Stop (833 Denman Street)
All that beefcake on display at the parade might get you in the mood for some real meat. By phone, co-owner Fiona Grieve suggests the restaurant’s gargantuan barbecue platters for two or more people, which come with beef back ribs, St. Louis pork ribs, beef brisket, smoked chicken, pulled pork, hush puppies, and corn bread. Grieve says Buck Stop’s first Pride Parade last year was a bit of a blur: “I was a bartending machine. I remember making about 300 caesars.” This Sunday’s drink special will again be a $6 caesar, this one made with serrano-infused vodka, house-made barbecue sauce, Clamato, and a garnish of pickled okra, double-smoked bacon, and Gouda.
Seventeen89 Restaurant & Lounge (1789 Comox Street)
Parade attendees may well remember the iconic Delilah’s with fondness. The former location of that West End institution has been revitalized as this sleek restaurant and lounge, which has a new patio for enjoying an outdoor cocktail or two. Brunch items include Montecristo French toast, and a three-egg vegetarian farmer’s frittata with potato, pepper, zucchini, mushroom, artichoke, tomato, goat cheese, and fresh herbs. From 2 p.m. to 4 p.m., the restaurant serves tapas such as panko-fried Fanny Bay oysters with sautéed greens and herb aioli, and hemp-crusted seared albacore tuna with pea shoot salad.
Sylvia’s Restaurant & Lounge (1154 Gilford Street)
Near the end of the parade route lies the Sylvia Hotel, which has been welcoming Pride Parade crowds since the event’s inception. During a phone chat, assistant manager Curtis Lewchuk notes that many staff members are involved in this year’s parade: “The LGBTQ community is definitely a part of our community, and we feel a part of it.” Head here for the West Coast Benny with wild B.C. smoked salmon, or buttermilk or buckwheat pancakes. Postparade lunch options include pulled-beef short-rib sliders with crispy onions, and grilled-prawn tacos with avocado and fresh salsa.
The Boathouse Restaurant (1795 Beach Avenue)
For official Pride Parade feasting, there’s the Breakfast at the Boathouse event. For $45, you get a buffet breakfast (think pancakes and lots of sausage), a prime viewing location with the option of sticking around until 4 p.m., and colourful commentary by drag queen Joan-E. For $25, you get a place to view the parade and à la carte extra-charge options like the lobster grilled-cheese Benny or the West Coast smoked-salmon hash. (See Eventbrite for tickets.) Bring your appetite—and your spirited hollering—for what’s sure to be a fun-filled day.