If you’ve ever been to Vancouver, you’ve likely visited Chinatown and the associated, notorious Downtown Eastside about one block away from Chinatown.
Save on Meats has been a Vancouver fixture since 1957 with its neon, glowing flying pig sign. As a kid I used to walk by that place with my mom and stare at the hanging carcasses of meat in the window (alongside window watching at the nearby Woodwards Christmas decorations of course). Save On Meats had a little mom and pop diner in the back as well where you could get a decent burger for $3.50 with fries. You just had to walk past the crack addicted individuals asking for spare change.
A few years ago, Save On Meats closed. Everyone was worried about what would happen to the sign (well, maybe it was just me who was worrying since I worry about everything constantly) since it is a quintessential Vancouver fixture after all.
Thankfully, a Vancouver restauranteur bought Save on Meats and revamped it (I mean…REVAMPED it. No more carcasses hanging from the ceiling). They made it posh and hipster. Now there are 30-45 minute line ups to get to the diner. LINE UPS. It is now hip and cool to hang out in the Downtown Eastside (as much as residents of the DTES don’t like the gentrification).
The sectioned the place into three parts. A butcher shop on the left, a sandwich shop with an open counter in the middle (where you can still get really cheap food- cheap chili for $3 for residents of the Downtown Eastside), and the popular diner on the right.
As a hipster antagonist, I was wary of contributing to the gentrification of the DTES and contributing to hipster-ism but this place was DELISH. The atmosphere was really cool. You write your name down on the board and they call you when you’re ready and erase your name after. The booths are really nice and they kept the “old feel” of the old Save on Meats, so it didn’t feel too gentrified ;) The service was good too.
I had the Traditional Benny ($8.95) because I am addicted to Hollandaise sauce. They said on their menu that the Hollandaise sauce was silky and I swear, that sh*t was like tasting a little slice of heaven. Probably one of the best bennys I have ever had. Comparable to Jethro’s diner.
They have some cheap menu items like $3.50 chili and super cheap hamburgers for $6.95 (includes a side of fries or salad!). Their gourmet hamburgers are apparently one of the best in town.
Readers, have you been to, or seen the infamous Save on Meats neon sign?
Apologies I didn’t take a picture of the food but I took a picture of the sign for you!