Top 5 Restaurants in Vancouver: Sandra Lopuch's Guide
Sandra Lopuch is the industrial designer, project manager and operations guru at Victory Gardens, a team of urban farmers-for-hire that specialize in transforming all types of urban and residential zones into sustainable, food-production spaces. Victory Gardens’ mandate is to empower people to grow their own food, help people decrease their impact on the environment and support the local economy.
Sandra Lopuch is the industrial designer, project manager and operations guru at Victory Gardens, a team of urban farmers-for-hire that specialize in transforming all types of urban and residential zones into sustainable, food-production spaces. Victory Gardens’ mandate is to empower people to grow their own food by providing the educational tools and infrastructure needed to produce successful harvests while also helping people decrease their impact on the environment and support the local economy.
Here are Sandra’s Five Faves:
Farmer’s Apprentice, 1535 West 6th Avenue
This cozy, 30-seat, fresh-focused eatery — the brainchild of former Wildebeest chef David Gunawan and partner Dara Young — gets Lopuch’s vote for “best new restaurant”. Ever since the staff of Victory Gardens chose this local hotspot to host their Christmas dinner they haven’t been able to get enough of its eclectic and ever-changing menu. “We’ve never had a plate from which we didn’t scrape off every last bite,” says Lopuch.
The Acorn, 3995 Main Street
After helping The Acorn construct a garden last year, Lopuch was more than eager to go back and taste the fruits of her company’s labours. “Our dear friends at The Acorn make a delicious kale tempeh salad that’s unlike any salad that’s come before it,” says Lopuch, whose vegetarian husband is also a big fan of Chef Brian Skinner’s award-winning cuisine. “It’s rare when I go for dinner with him and not only can he eat everything on the menu — but we know anything that he chooses will be delicious.”
The Fish Counter, 3825 Main Street
A deep-sea success story that’s the creation of chef/author Robert Clark and marine biologist/conservationist Mike McDermid, The Fish Counter’s catch of the day is always local, sustainable and Ocean-Wise approved seafood such as Pink salmon, Humpback shrimp, mussels and B.C. spot prawns. “From fish and chips to the best creamy, crunchy coleslaw we’ve had in a long time, we’re so happy to see a place that not only cares about what they serve, but how they serve it — in completely recycled, biodegradable everything,” says Lopuch.
A fresh-daily (Tuesday through Friday) delivery and food truck service that offers free delivery of its hearty, $10 vegan entrée salads to downtown, Gastown and Kitsilano, Culver City Salads founder and co-owner Christina Culver has built a big following thanks to her titanic and delicious salad creations. “Culver City gets its spring-fall produce from our pals at Inner City Farms,” explains Lopuch, “and the only thing we love more than a real satisfying salad is when our food-making friends support our food-growing friends.”
Sweet Cherubim, 1105 Commercial Drive
Lopuch and her fellow urban farmers at Victory Gardens are unabashed fans of this organic and natural food store, bakery and vegan/vegetarian restaurant, which has been a Commercial Drive staple since 1980. “To say that ‘Sweet C’ keeps us alive during our busiest days throughout the gardening season would be an understatement,” says Lopuch, who hails the restaurant as a great spot to grab a quick, healthy and delicious meal on the go. “We’re huge fans of the baked chick-pea samosa and I have a hard time passing by the tofu salad.”