The Elbow Room

Written by on February 16, 2014 in I Eat Canada, I Eat...Out with 0 Comments

(theelbowroomcafe.com) – Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada

The Elbow Room

How I heard of this place: When I was a teenager, I spent quite a bit of time in Vancouver hanging out with my local friends. One good friend, with whom I shared many a laugh introduced me to The Jerky Boys and The Elbow Room. Now, twenty years later, my husband was touring Vancouver for the first time, and, lucky us, the new location (as of 1995) was only one kilometer away from our hotel!

Type of cuisine: Creative, American breakfasts and lunches; meat n’ potato style, served with a lousy attitude.

The Elbow Room Menu

Ambiance: The Elbow Room was started in 1983 by Patrick Savoie, an ex-teacher and Brian Searle, an insurance adjuster. It’s original location, at 720 Jervis Street, was located in the first mayor of Vancouver’s house, and was declared a heritage building. At first Bryan did dishes and Patrick cooked. We had one employee, Vera McKee, who waited tables.

After a while we hired a cook and Patrick went out on the floor. The Palisades Hotel was located one block away, and at the time, catered to the movie business and the stars, which were now beginning to thrive in Vancouver’s new movie industry. As a result of our location we had many movie stars come to our little restaurant, the first was Tom Selleck.

The Elbow Room Photo Wall

We then had our first write-up in the Province, in June 1983, just months after we opened. It was a great write-up and it perked many peoples interest, mainly because of the stars, and of course Patrick, who was, and is, outrageous. He started to suggest that if you want coffee ‘get it yourself’.

For thirteen years we stayed in the same location and business boomed with weekend lineups. Food was good and we had fun with our customers by giving them friendly abuse! In 1996, we were told the building was going to be renovated and there was no place for us, and as we had no lease we had to move. Even though by now we had been interviewed by several local TV stations and had become Vancouver’s most famous breakfast restaurant.

The Elbow Room Kitchen

The move cost us a lot of money, so we decided to take on a third partner. After several applicants we had a good rapport with Soheil Sadri, who has been our partner for the last 6 years. Soheil has been an asset and he works well with both our staff and us. 

We have since moved to 560 Davie Street, in a location that had been vacant for 9 years! We were very nervous, but our customers came through, now we are in our 20th year and still going strong.

The Elbow Room Dining

We now have 52 seats, a staff of 10-12 and abusing customers from all over Canada, the US and the world. We are listed with the Japanese Tourist Board, the Actors Guild and dozens of other entertainment organizations in Hollywood. We still get our fair share of stars from TV, movies and stage. If you take a look, you’ll see their pictures on our walls. We have been on several TV, with our front man Patrick shows including Urban Rush with Mike and Fiona, Good Morning America, the Discovery Channel, Education TV, French TV & Radio, as well as local TV news and radio.

We love our customers and make them feel right at home. Whether you are famous or not, we will treat you with same abuse! All our staff are efficient and fun, just make sure to be open-minded and be prepared for great food and Fun, Fun, Fun!!!

The Elbow Room Chalkboard Menu

What I ordered: We started with two mugs of bottomless coffee ($2.75 each), since we were laughing too hard to know what had hit us when asked and immediately memorized the menu (so as not to waste any time)! I selected the Brett Cullen ($12.75), a benedict of sautéed spinach, crispy bacon, avocado, bleu cheese and a poached egg served over a warm English muffin and topped with Hollandaise sauce.

The Elbow Room Brett Cullen

My husband savored the Lumberjack ($12.75) including two large eggs, one slice of Black Forest ham, two English style sausages, three strips of crispy bacon, half grilled tomato, hash browns and toast.

The Elbow Room Lumberjack

What I loved: The attitude of our single, gay (according to him) server. Oh! And, as for the food, I loved the Brett Cullen! An abundance of soft, wilted spinach perfectly complemented the crisp bacon and the tangy bleu cheese. The eggs were seamlessly poached and oozed enough yolk to be sopped up by the warm English muffin. Yum!

The Elbow Room Benedict

Why I loved it: The Elbow Room seems to be a Vancouver tradition. If ever in the city, make is a point to start your day with a bit of vulgarity, tons of laughter and a good, old fashioned meal. And, if you aren’t able to finish, know that leaving something on your plate can help a good cause: “If you don’t finish your food, a donation will be collected for charity. A Loving Spoonful: Because no one living with AIDS should live with hunger. Everday, all year round, we provide approximately 2000 meals to men, women and children who are primarily homebound with AIDS. Our average meal cost is only $4.75.

Cost: Low to average ($4.75 – $14.75 per entree)

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