Thursday, April 3, 2014

Save On Meats

I was in Gastown for an industry mingle-r with some of my favourite ladies. We wanted to grab a bite to eat somewhere. I was in a “pho, sushi, cheap and cheerful something” kind of food mood. As a group, we ran through our nearby options, and when one of us mentioned Save on Meats, there was a collective nod as the group agreed we were all hankering for some comfort grub….and most of our group hadn’t visited Save On Meats before and were curious to check it out.

Save On Meats is an iconic and historical part of Gastown, in downtown Vancouver, and it comes with a lot of history. Save On Meats has been open since 1957. The original owner retired and closed it in 2009 but local restaurateur, Mark Brand, rescued the iconic gem in 2010. Along with revitalizing the diner and butcher shop, Brand has been working in close collaboration with various community programs and initiatives, tackling important societal issues like barrier employment and food security straight from the heart of Vancouver’s Downtown East Side. Save On Meats has gotten it’s share of kudos for it’s burger and diner classics done right, including an appearance on Food Network’s “Diners, Drive-Ins, and Dives.” The restaurant recently closed last August for renovations and recently re-opened in February.

Overall, we loved the décor, the atmosphere, the vibe. The feeling in SOM (both customers) was upbeat, relaxed, comfortable, yet with a hint of “hip and cool”. I was really pleased with the enthusiastic service. The décor is bright, clean, shiny and retro cute with some truly cool touches. SOM has awesome signage- you can’t help but smile when you walk into this place.

I ordered; The BLAT sandwich with bacon, lettuce, avocado, and tomato ($7.95)
I really wanted to love my meal but sadly I was pretty underwhelmed. The extra crispy, salty bacon was a highlight but sadly the toasted white bread (I don’t think I was offered a choice of other bread option) was really crusty, hard and dry, with sharp edges that felt a little unpleasant to eat. The fries weren’t very crispy and didn't have much going on in the flavour department. A great hot sauce might have saved this plate, but sadly, they only had Tabasco which didn’t quite do the trick.

Other grub met the same response from the other ladies. “Meh...”; okay, but not great. The iconic burger got a thumbs up, but my pal who ordered it said she was expecting it to be something a bit more special based on all the hype. It’s now a Build your Burger with a variable price depending on your patty, veggie topping, sauces, and “the goods” with toppings like bacon, blue cheese, fried egg, onion rings and more…and then you add a side for different prices.

Also on the table:

PEROGIES sour cream, caramelized and green onions $7.95
add sausage $2.49

Cup $3.95 Bowl $5.95
*I believe this used to be served with their in-house biscuits...but sadly this bowl was accompanied by a pretty sad toasted english muffin

THE AWARD WINNING SAVE ON MEATS CAESAR infused vodka, clamato, tabasco, worcestershire, secret rim salt, on the rocks with bacon and olive $6.95

Despite the lackluster food, we all agreed that we would still come back for drinks, to give some other menu items a chance, and to enjoy the upbeat, feel-good atmosphere.

Save On Meats on Urbanspoon

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