Save on Meats

Chow down with locals at this Vancouver landmark diner where retro past meets hipster cool.

When restaurateur Mark Brand resurrected the iconic butcher shop and sandwich counter that is Save On Meats, his goal was to run a neighbourhood joint that welcomed everyone. Years later, he’s still delivering on that vision.

The Vibe
Hit the takeout counter at lunchtime and you’re as likely to rub shoulders with Gastown hipsters as with old timers and rough-around-the-edge locals missing a tooth (or five). What draws them in is the same thing that’s been enticing Downtown Eastsiders here since the original Save On Meats opened in 1957: good grub at affordable prices.

The Goods
The M.O. at the new Save On Meats has remained pretty much the same, down to the old-fashioned prices. Case in point, the juicy burger slathered in yummy BBQ sauce and topped with bacon and cheese. The price? Just $7.95. Best of all, the store’s Token Program makes it simple to give to those in need. A $2.25 token (which you can distribute directly or have the store give to one of its community partners) can be redeemed for a hot breakfast sandwich. A $5 token is good for a pound of clothing at The Rag Machine.

The Space
The space has that cool retro vibe too, down to the vintage-inspired signs advertising Fresh Brewed Coffee and a jukebox filled with records hand-picked by guest DJs. Aside from the takeout window and the diner, there’s a butcher shop where you can buy charcuterie and take a cooking class. Sausage making, anyone?

Why We Like It
When you get to the meat of it, the recipe for success here is good food and a pay-it-forward philosophy.

What: Save On Meats
Neighborhood: Downtown Eastside
Address: 23 West Hastings Street; 604-683-7761
Hours:  Open daily 7am – 10pm