There's a new kid on the block on Granville Island, and it's already making waves.
Edible Canada opened up kitty corner to the Public Market's main entrance this summer, and its planter-box-lined patio is already packed with locals and tourists alike, bent on discovering what Canadian cuisine has to offer.
Ask Eric Pateman-the man behind the behind the market's highly successful Edible B.C. store, now integrated into the back of the bistro-how this all happened, and he'll tell you that opening a restaurant became a necessity.
"We were putting on three to four dinners a week in the market but we weren't set up as a restaurant," says Pateman, adding that he needed a "more appropriate space," to keep the health department happy, for one.
When the former information booth opposite the market became available, Pateman approached Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC) and, after a successful tender process, secured the spot. Two years down the road, on Canada Day this year, Edible Canada threw open its doors.
The kitchen, which runs from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m., dishes out definitive Canadian tastes, including glutenand dairy-free choices. Spring salmon salad is piled with mustard greens ($12.50), a Fanny Bay oyster sandwich piques with chorizo relish ($8), while the "Canadian" burger sports Fraser Valley double smoked bacon and aioli and smokehouse cheddar ($12). Big sellers already are crispy duck fat fries served with aioli and ketchup ($4.50) and a rich seafood bisque of spot prawns, mussels, clams and fish in coconut broth ($7, $10).
The bar is well-stocked with wines, ciders and beer primarily from B.C. but also includes the likes of Toronto's Steam Whistle and Halifax's Propeller, not to mention the obligatory Screech. Uniquely, two Nichol Vineyard wines (dry-finished Gewurz '09 and well-structured Nine Mile '09) are served on tap.
Treve Ring (who has the enviable title of "Director of Liquid Assets" is working hard to expand the crosscountry selection to include sips as diverse as L'Acadie Vineyards sparkling wine (Wofville, NS) and Phrog Gin (Hornby Island), although it can be a challenge to get smaller producers to ship from coast to coast, says Ring.
Not surprisingly, Edible B.C.'s role (and now Edible Canada's) as culinary ambassador has not gone un-noticed.
Next month, Pateman and crew travel to New York with the Canadian Tourism Commission, where they'll represent our culinary scene at the Travel and Leisure Global Bazaar-and cook for 5,000 delegates over two days.
Pateman says last year's Canadian Chefs Congress held in Duncan also reinforced the notion that it was time to come up with a venue to celebrate all things Canadian on a daily basis. "And, besides, this is federal land," he notes.
Edible Canada, 1596 Johnston St., 604-662-6675, ediblecanada.com.