Best Casual Chain 2013
May 1, 2013
GOLD: CACTUS CLUB CAFE
Silver: Hapa Izakaya | Bronze: Joey | Honourable Mentions: Guu, Memphis Blues Barbeque House
Hitting its quarter century, Cactus Club Cafe (Gold) continues to dominate on the chain category known in these parts as casual fine dining. Head chef Rob Feenie's signature dishes still lead menus, and the rollout into English Bay (and most recently Coal Harbour) signals there's still lots of appetite for smart design, inventive food programs, and (under sommelier Sebastien Le Goff) standout wine offerings.
Consistency and style convinced judges to keep Hapa Izakaya at Silver, and Joey (like Cactus Club, a descendant of category granddaddy Earls) rose to Bronze thanks to "underrated chef" Chris Mills, lauded for his dedication to new discoveries for his menus.
Honourable Mentions to Guu ("Every time I walk into this restaurant, I smile: great food, fun atmosphere") and barbecue stalwart Memphis Blues.