This truffle chocolate cake is one of two dessert options at Blue Canoe restaurant in Steveston.
Photo by Hannah Scott
Dine Out helps local restaurants combat off-season
Published 2:36 PST, Fri January 31, 2020
For the last two weeks, Richmond foodies have been exposed to quality meals at affordable prices.
Twenty-two Richmond restaurants are participating in this year’s Dine Out Vancouver festival, which ends on Sunday. They include seafood restaurants, pubs, and Asian cuisine.
Originally conceived in 2002 to combat a slump in restaurant attendance during the winter months, Dine Out is now a major local event each year.
Restaurants offer fixed-price menus that typically comprise three courses. Meals cost $15, $25, $35, or $45 depending on location.
Vegetarian and gluten-free dishes are available at some restaurants. Some offer lunch menus, and some suggest BC wine pairings.
One of Richmond’s options this year is Blue Canoe Waterfront Restaurant in Steveston.
Blue Canoe’s $35 lunch or dinner menu offers a choice between three different appetizers, four entrées, and two desserts.
“It has a massive impact on what would normally be a very slow time (for restaurants),” says Jim van der Tas, Blue Canoe operating partner.
“To be able to offer something that’s really good value has proven to work. We’re packed every night—we’re averaging over 90 reservations a night.”
The increase in off-season business is great for the restaurant’s staff, who rely on hours and tips, says van der Tas.
He adds that, while about 50 per cent of Blue Canoe’s Dine Out patrons are from the Richmond area, the other half are from outside Richmond and have travelled specifically to try their menu offerings.
To develop this year’s menu, executive chef Dimitrios Papafilis went over his suggestions with van der Tas and restaurant manager Rob Henderson.
One thing the team didn’t expect? The popularity of the braised short rib entrée, which is accompanied by demi-glace, garlic mashed potatoes, and thyme roasted vegetables.
“As soon as this (Dine Out) event is over, we’re going to take the short rib dish and put it on the (permanent) menu,” says van der Tas, adding that 41 per cent of diners so far have chosen the short rib as their Dine Out entrée.
This year’s Dine Out festival runs until Feb. 2 and reservations are still available at some locations. For more information, visit the Dine Out website.
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