When Malone’s closed down last year, much speculation was made over who would take over the popular beachfront spot at the intersection of Cornwall and Yew. The rather unassuming name of Local Public Eatery popped up, and we have eagerly waited for interior pictures and outdoor signs and finally– opening day this Friday!
For a gastro pub with franchise origins, Local Public Eatery surprisingly lives up to its “local” label. While Local is a part of the Joey’s restaurant group, it manages to leave out the formulaic feel of chain restaurants. Instead, great consideration has gone into making sure that Local reflects some aspects of the neighbourhood– and no, I don’t mean the many flat screens showing the latest Canucks game (though there’s that too).
Right at the entrance it’s obvious that Local Public Eatery considers the importance of its location: an entire wall is decorated with a blown-up map of the city. And then there’s tiny charming touches, such as their personal take on Kits landmarks printed on the backs of menus. So, just in case you’ve forgotten that Vanier Park makes a good makeout spot, the cheeky menu will be happy to remind you.
Local’s menu is more reasonably priced compared to most chain restaurants, and the drink selection is as wide as it is affordable with nightly drink specials ranging from $5-6. As for appetizers, their Duo of Dips ($11) features a platter of oven-warm crisp tortillas served along with guacamole and cheese. While this sounds like another ordinary sports game snack, Local quite exceeds those expectations. The guac is guaranteed fresh as the server actually mashes those avocados right in front of you, mixing along jalapenos and aromatic cilantro with a dash of lime and a special salt (imported from France, the server confides).
Another seemingly humble side dish that wowed me was the bucket of Yam Fries ($7 a a starter, but free with the burgers). What sets Local’s yam fries above the rest are the evenly crisp fries and the corresponding creamy tangy dip (three words: truffle lemon mayo).
The main course revolves around their burgers, and I was actually intimidated by the size and the construction of my towering Kits Beach Burger ($14) when it arrived. I briefly considered the logistics of fitting half a pound of ground chuck patty inside my stomach. Thankfully, this was an amazing burger. Note that the patty was made of ground chuck as opposed to the usual ground beef, which meant that the patty was much juicier and flavourful than the common burger. The golden brioche buns, with the flaky and buttery crumb, also contributed to the overall richness of the burger.
The menu states that my Kits Beach burger is also known as a “gritty Greer burger.” Apparently, Kits beach used to be known as Greer beach, after Sam Greer the pioneer who battled CPR for the rights to build a homestead on the beach. A quick Google research proves this true. Incorporating a piece of obscure Kits history wins Local some brownie points!
Speaking of brownies, the Caramel Toffee Cake ($6) comes highly suggested by the waitstaff. However, the Gooey Chocolate Brownie ($6) arrives instead, perhaps just so I can make a “brownie points” pun. This dessert is presented warm with a huge cold scoop of vanilla ice cream on top. I don’t know how I managed to eat even more after eating the burger, but I knew I could not miss this one. Drizzled caramel sauce and crushed pecans made the dessert even more decadent. I would definitely come back just to try out the caramel toffee cake, however.
Since Local Public Eatery is still in its earliest days, it would be interesting to see how it will continue to shift to better fit the neighbourhood dynamics. I hear they’re playing the Canucks game tonight. The gorgeous wooden patio will be opening up in the summer, and I hear there’s a takeout shack in the works when beach season comes. Well, when Kits beach is your front yard, you can’t go wrong.
Last modified: April 3, 2010