There are many folks who will tell you that Vancouver is a cold, unfriendly place. They might even say that it’s hard to feel welcome, and that it’s too expensive, and it rains too much and all other assorted nonsense that causes you to go in your head, ‘blah, blah, blah’ while making yappy puppet movements with your hands. For the most part they are right (it’s challenging to find a bachelor pad for less than $1100) and sure, it rains frequently (but we are in a RAINFOREST) but when it comes to hospitality, good food, and a ‘Cheers’ sort of jovial place, Lu Lee will greet you from behind the bar at Perch with a giant smile.
Once located over on Powell Street at the north end of Commercial Drive, Perch soon had to expand it’s roots and sprawl west to East Hastings near Gore. The old tiny hole-in-the-wall dining had a habit of being always full – which was good and bad. While it was good that people enjoyed the fare, it made it hard to give the customers the best service possible. The only thing to do was pack up the pots, pans, and records and move to new territory. Kind of. What had once been a old Chinese restaurant with dubious clientele on East Hastings is now a tidy and thriving eatery offering gluten-free, vegan, vegetarian, and classic omnivore fare. Lu has worked hard to create good food to nourish the city with, and while there are clusters of great dining spots elsewhere in the city, Perch has settled into it’s new digs to offer locals and visitors some good grub without the threat of gentrification…
Lu was kind enough to let me pick the bones off some chicken wings and her brain about her philosophy on food, the ‘hood, and being generally awesome…
Tristan Risk: You have recently moved to bigger digs – are there any plans to expand the menu as well? Any seasonal specials we can look forward to?
Lu Lee: We did expand the menu a bit when we opened here but our menu is always a work in progress. Our weekend brunch menu is still pretty small, we plan on expanding it as we get to know our clientele and suss out what they are looking for. We are working on adding more vegan breakfast options and we’ve got a baker hard at work creating desserts that are vegan, gluten-free AND delicious.
TR: Perch is there for the pre-show food-buffer as well as the antidote to the hangover with brunch the following day. What are some menu pairings that you’d suggest to go with certain shows?
LL: That’s an interesting question! My favorite pre-show meal is maple-glazed chicken wings and a spinach salad, which I think would go well with a burlesque show, because it’s light and yet decadent. For a pre-punk show meal I would suggest a Sally Mae burger or a burger burger, depending how you feel about eating animals. I see quite a few vegan metal folks in here eating our gluten free pizzas (which can also be made with much meat and cheese) so I’ll differ to their judgment and say the pizza’s are the best for pre-metal shows. Finally, if you’ve just spent way to many hours awake and wasted from attending ManUp or any of The Cobalt’s other offerings, may I suggest a mimosa and a pulled pork eggs benny to clear the cobwebs and soak up the party poisons.
TR: Perch’s new home is on East Hastings by Gore – the notorious DTES. A lot of the neighbourhood folks don’t have a lot of spare money for food, but your offering some specials that might be able to help them out. Can you tell me about them?
LL: We opened with a menu that was designed for the demographic we had in our old location, young(ish) working people. The people I met who live in this neighbourhood were quick to ask me to lower the prices, which was not something we are able to do with the model we have. (Gluten-free, house made, etc.) So with the help of some of the ladies I met while smoking out front of the restaurant I designed a daytime menu that consists of items that we can sell for $4-$6. These are still healthy and house made, they are simply lower cost items consolidated onto a single menu that is available during the day (10am-5pm). We are also running one of these items every evening along with our nightly specials which consist of one of our menu items paired with a drink.
TR: Any good celebrity sightings at the bar yet?
LL: Only you, ya minx.*
*Not true. I have personally seen PonyBoy from Man Up! as well as Bloody Betty there. I also blushed, but yeah. Awesome.
TR: There’s a lot of people who go out of their way to offer a menu item so over the top ridiculous and expensive and extravagant it makes my inner Socialist cringe a little. Still, it’s fun to dream, right? If you could make your biggest indulgence (think the $10,000 cupcake or the $100 Dragon Dog) what would it be and what would the price tag say?
LL: We do have something like that but I’m afraid our idea of ridiculous and extravagant
TR: And finally you’ve yet to have an ‘official’ house warming party at the new location – any dates lined up for that yet?
LL: We are looking at mid to lat November but no dates hammered down yet. Anyone who is interested can follow us on twitter @eatdrinkperch or like us on Facebook .
To be fair, since I posted a photo of Lu eating at the beginning of this post, it’s only fair to post the MULTIPLE photos of me. Dressed in her clothes. Enjoying all the menu items. At once.
Yup. Feeder porn, right there ladies and gentlemen. I’m sorry that I’m not sorry for being such a pig. You wanna check the menu yourself, clickety click here.
Little Miss Risk