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Old Surrey Restaurant – Surrey’s Best Kept Secret

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Rich in History

The Old Surrey Restaurant is Surrey’s best well-kept secret. Built in 1918, it was the residence of Lew Jack and his household until it was converted into a restaurant in 1974.

INSPIRED DISHES & LOCAL INGREDIENTS

Nestled in the heart of Surrey, the Old Surrey Restaurant is the culinary life force of the fine dining this side of the Fraser. The Old Surrey Restaurant, founded in 1975 by Spain native Valentine Aguirre, serves up fresh, inspired dishes with local ingredients including lamb and veal from the family’s Chilliwack farm.

From the complimentary fresh baguette and amuse bouche right through to the Casesar Salad or flambeed Crepes Suzette, prepared tableside, your classically French dining experience will be a night to remember. The Aguirre’s have created a standard of excellence, not only in the kitchen but also in their service, which combines the perfect blend of sophistication and comfort.

TWO GENERATIONS OF AGUIRRE’S WORKING SIDE BY SIDE

Since 2007 the Old Surrey has been in the capable hands of Aguirre’s youngest son Philip, who spent a year in France mastering his culinary skills and perfecting the traditional recipes that never fail to impress. The familiar Newton house, white with green gables, has been a part of Surrey’s heritage since 1918, when pioneer Lew Jack, a local grocer, built the residence on an old logging camp for his growing family.

Philip talks about growing up on the Aguirre family farm.

Philip talks with Surrey604’s Natasha Raey about growing up on the Aguirre family farm in an episode of Surrey604’s ‘Farm to Fork’.

Decades later and the library and lounge of the former Jack home are just two of the unique dining rooms that make every meal at the Old Surrey a special event. Then and always the Old Surrey is an essential part of Surrey’s landscape – historically, physically, socially.

Executive Chef: Generation 2

PHILIP AGUIRRE took over as the new owner of the Old Surrey Restaurant on January 1st, 2007. Following in his father’s footsteps Philip has dedicated himself to mastering the culinary arts. From a very young age Philip was involved in the restaurant where he practically grew up. He worked his way up the ladder beginning with dishwashing, prep cools, busboy, waiter and finally head chef.

Host Natasha Raey explores the Old Surrey Restaurant's kitchen with Philip Aguirre.

Host Natasha Raey explores the Old Surrey Restaurant’s kitchen with Executive Chef, Philip Aguirre on an episode of Surrey604’s ‘Farm to Fork‘.

Knowing that there is more to restaurants than simply great food, Philip attended the University of Victoria and graduated with a degree in Commerce specializing in Entrepreneurship. In 2005 Philip and his wife moved to France to travel around Europe as well as to experience life in a different country. Wanting to get a feel for the local cuisine and culture Philip started working in various kitchens and became familiar within the culinary circle as the Canadian. He also accepted a position at a culinary school where he taught English within the context of cuisine and customer service.

Upon his return in the summer of 2006, Philip, like his father before him recognized that after much travel, it was time to settle down. An agreement was reached between father and son, that keeps the restaurant in the family. It is not uncommon to see two generations of Aguirre’s working side by side.

Watch 'Farm to Fork: The Old Surrey Restaurant'

Host Natasha Raey meets up with Philip Aguirre, owner of the Old Surrey Restaurant, which specializes in french cuisine with a west coast twist.

The atmosphere of the restaurant reflects similarly. In 1918, the building belonged to pioneer Lew Jack, and has been transformed into an elegant space, while keeping the local heritage intact.

The restaurant is located near Save On Foods on King George Boulevard, however, Aguirre likes to stay far away from chain grocery stores when it comes to what’s on the menu.

The Aguirre’s serve local ingredients in all of their dishes, such as fresh scallops from Vancouver Island, and lamb from their very own family owned farm in Chilliwack.

The Old Surrey Restaurant was founded in 1975 by Phillip’s father, Valentine Aguirre, a native of Spain, who has always loved having a direct connection to what’s on his plate.

The Aguirre’s have made sure their farm is as sustainable and ethically grown as possible. With an assortment of free range animals, such as sheep, lamb, pigs and chickens.

The farm also has a variety of fruits and vegetables such as corn, zucchinis, carrots, and tomatoes. The Aguirre farm grows everything it needs, down to the herbs they use, such as mint.

Natasha samples some farm grown veggies

Natasha samples some farm grown veggies.

The Old Surrey Restaurant which has been in business for over 40 years, has also been featured in the ‘100 Most Romantic Restaurants in Canada’, as well as the ‘Top 100 Best Restaurants in Canada’ for 2017, out of roughly 1,500 other candidates via OpenTable.com. So, check it out! And maybe it’ll leave you craving a taste of some fresh organic cuisine!

The creator of Surrey604.com, Daman Beatty (AKA 'Beatler') is originally from Sackville, New Brunswick. A longtime media producer, visual designer, marketing and communications specialist, Daman loves travel, technology and being a Daddy.

Food & Drink

Stanley Park Brewing launches At Home Beer Festival Kit

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The 2020 beer festival season may be canceled, but that doesn’t mean the festivities should stop. Why not bring the fun home? Keeping the spirit of beer exploration alive, Stanley Park Brewing has curated a limited release At Home Beer Festival Kit, featuring other great breweries from around Vancouver.

The kit pulls together a varied selection of beer styles, from 4 local breweries including Stanley Park Brewing, Russell Brewing, East Van Brewing, and Red Truck Beer Co. for you to explore!

The perfect way to upgrade your next backyard get together, these kits have been developed for a total of 6 adults and has all your beer fest essentials (beer included). Whether you’re a beer festival novice or a pro we’ve got you covered.

Inside your At-Home Beer Festival Kit you will discover:

  • An At-Home Beer Festival how-to guide
  • Beer passports – to rate and comment on the beers in the kit
  • Beer tasting table mats – to keep your beer samples and tasting notes organized
  • Numbered folding tent cards – to mark your stations
  • Folding tent cards – to identify your beers
  • 4oz tasting plastic cups
  • Coasters
  • And of course beer! 9 different styles to be exact!

“We figured that since the beer festival season is canceled, why not bring the fun home? Beer festivals are a great way to discover beers you may not have tried before, we’ve created an experience where you can not only explore brands and styles but also support and celebrate local breweries,” shared Thom Riley, Brewmaster at Stanley Park Brewing.

These kits will be available for purchase on the Stanley Park Brewing website now and can be picked up at the Stanley Park Brewing Restaurant and Brewpub (8901 Stanley Park Drive). Delivery will also be available to Vancouver, North Vancouver, Richmond, Burnaby, and New Westminster. The kit itself is valued at over $300 but is specially priced at $120 + tax. With limited stock available, we suggest getting your orders in early and get ready for the weekend now!

Order Link: https://orders.stanleyparkbrewstore.com/products/at-home-beer-festival-kit

Tag @stanleyparkbrew on Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter to share all the fun you’re having with your At-Home Beer Festival kits. Be sure to tag our friends @russell_beer, @eastvanbrewing, and @redtruckbeer and let them know what you think of their brews!

To keep up with the latest from Stanley Park Brewing visit, www.stanleyparkbrewing.com or follow us on Instagram @stanleyparkbrew, Facebook www.facebook.com/stanleyparkbrew, and Twitter @stanleyparkbrew.

About Stanley Park Brewing

As beer-crafters, we’re explorers at heart. We are inspired by the wonder of Stanley Park, and honouring our curiosity and seeking out new adventures is what we’ve always been about. From windstorms to daytrips to incredible sunsets best viewed from the beach, every beer we craft is a tasty tribute to Stanley Park and the experiences had within. And just like the park, we craft each one to be an exciting break from every day, an experience to be explored and savored.

In 2019, we opened our new Restaurant and Brewpub nestled in the heart of the Park. Situated just steps away from some of the best recreational trails and viewpoints in the city, the revitalized heritage building boasts two large outdoor patios, cozy and bright indoor dining rooms, a casual west coast-inspired menu and a rotating selection innovative beers brewed on-site, under the leadership of brewmaster Thom Riley.

Let your taste buds wander as you experience one of the most unique brewpub settings in Canada. Stanley Park Brewing products are also available for sale in retail stores and in many of your favorite pubs and restaurants across British Columbia and Alberta. For more information, please visit www.stanleyparkbrewing.com.

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Food & Drink

Support Our Surrey (SOS): Jolly Mac’s Pub is BACK!

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Jolly Mac’s Pub has re-opened its doors as of June 1! You can visit them at 14817 108 Avenue, Surrey, BC. A 30+ year cornerstone in the Guildford/Fleetwood neighbourhood, patrons were eagerly waiting to return to one of their favourite hang-outs. I overheard one guest keenly tell their friend about the renovations they noticed since the closing, along with other changes that had been made to take care of their patrons’ health and safety.

For those visiting the pub, please take a moment to read the sign on the entrance that outlines the changes that have been made in order to help staff and guests navigate the ‘new norm’.

After you walk in, you’ll notice the hand sanitizer available to guests, and the plexi-glass guards hung all around the bar. If you’re a regular, you’ll also notice that there are a few less tables and plexi-glass partitions between booths – owner, Steve McDonald, shared that 5 tables in the lower seating area have been removed in order to accommodate the 2 meter requirement of social distancing, the upper area is opened when necessary and guests are spaced out accordingly (great for those waiting to get back to their Thursday Wing nights; there’s still room!), and condiments are brought out as needed so there’s no waste (if something isn’t’ used, for

safety, it gets disposed of); please be patient and wait for a seat – once guests vacate a table a sign goes up for cleaning before other guests can sit down.

Jolly Mac’s decided to temporarily close their doors on March 19, ahead of provincial requirements, and like all businesses that closed, the weight of uncertainty was heavy. While business may seem like it’s returned to normal, there is still very much a ‘learn as we go’ approach – a lot has changed since the closure and like many establishments out there, Jolly Mac’s is doing their best to keep operations as smooth as possible.

Fortunately, and unfortunately, the liquor store was able to remain opened during lock-down, however that also meant that they did not qualify for the wage subsidies, leaving members of their team to collect CERB and EI. Now that they’ve reopened, some have decided not to return, leaving Jolly Mac’s short on staff in an already hustle-and-bustle environment, and now one that can change overnight amidst COVID conditions.

Side note: Jolly Mac’s does have opening for servers, bartenders, and cooks – please apply within.

I moved into the Guildford/Fleetwood neighbourhood not that long ago, and Jolly Mac’s re-opening was actually the first time I’ve had the chance to check it out. I had passed by it numerous times on my transit route, and finally got the opportunity to visit when my husband was looking for places that serve breakfast, as places started to re-open. Beer? While I eat breakfast?

That isn’t cooked by me? Sign me up! We each ordered the Breakfast Sampler and it was delicious – our first re-opening breakfast. If you’re looking for something smaller, Jolly Mac’s also offers a full breakfast for $5.50!

Then I went back last weekend for my pub favourite – beer and nachos – they always taste better in a pub. You know what there’s no substitute for? REAL Happy Hour (Zoom ones just don’t cut it) – everyday between 3pm and 6pm, you can get 2 for 1 appies!

For those who’ve been waiting for it to re-open – it’s time to go! For those who’ve never been – GO! And FYI, they also have a loyalty program that applies to both pub and liquor store – you can redeem $5 for every 10,000 points you earn; every $1 earns you 20 points. Just by signing up you get 10,000 points to start. You can find their hours and menu here , and on Facebook – Jolly Mac’s Pub.

See you there – cheers!

Dear readers: As BC begins to re-open, it’s a great opportunity for businesses to welcome us back – please reach out to share local businesses that are now open so we can feature them and make sure our community knows how we can Support Our Surrey.

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Food & Drink

Support Our Surrey (SOS): Sushi King George

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Anyone been craving sushi during lockdown? I have! I’m happy to share that one of Surrey’s most popular sushi establishments will be re-opening soon! Sushi King George (located at 10344 King George Boulevard) is aiming to open their doors again in a few weeks! I spoke with manager, Danny K, and he is expecting table service to re-open in mid- to late-June.

Sushi King George has been opened for several years now, but did you know that in late 2019, the business changed hands? If not, that’s because the new owners have done a great job in maintaining the same quality of food, and service from its previous owners. The restaurant is currently a family owned and operated business, having experience running many successful Japanese restaurants in Winnipeg, Regina, and now Surrey.

(GUCCI Roll)

In addition to the delicious original menu that residents know and love, the new owners also introduced a special menu of their own, with signature items that are specially created by their chefs.

Their most notable and popular roll is their GUCCI roll – a decadent individually deep-fried roll, filled with crabmeat, avocado and cream cheese in the centre, and topped with three homemade savory sauces made in house. (My mouth is watering as I’m writing this but it’s too late to make an order!). If seared is more your thing, they have salmon and tuna nigiri that’s seared in their special house sauce.

(Seared salmon nigiri)

While we wait for them to re-open, we can order through Skip-the-Dishes, or directly from the restaurant at: 778.395.8989 for pick-up. Check out their delicious menu!

Their hours of operation are:

Monday to Saturday: 11:30am to 10pm
Sunday: 11:30am to 9pm.

The team at Sushi King George are thrilled to open their doors again and want to thank their patrons for their on-going support during COVID-19. I was told that, because “of our faithful customers constantly being so supportive of our business, especially during the pandemic, and our hard working staff, we have been able to stay open and keep the restaurant running smoothly. We are extremely grateful and lucky to have such amazing customers and staff.”

We look forward to visiting Danny and his team soon!

Dear readers: As BC begins to re-open, it’s a great opportunity for business to welcome us back – please reach out to share local businesses that are now open so we can feature them and make sure our community knows how we can Support Our Surrey.

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Food & Drink

Tandoori Flame Delta Re-Opens for Dine-In on Two-Year Anniversary

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From Grand Indian Buffet to a New Way to Buffet: Buffet at the Table

On June 1, 2018 Tandoori Flame Delta opened to much anticipation, hype and line-ups out the door that lasted several weeks. Now, exactly two years from the date from that grand opening, Tandoori Flame Delta will re-open on June 1, 2020 at 5pm for dine-in service, after being closed for over 2 months due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

“To be planning our re-opening plans exactly two years from the date is a surreal process. It will be the same restaurant, the same name, but a new concept – essentially a different experience altogether,” shared Shraey Gulati, Managing Director of Tandoori Flame Restaurants. We are essentially re-inventing the wheel and our entire process.”

Known as North America’s largest Indian buffet with more than 150 items, the challenge for Tandoori Flame Restaurants is how to bring their classic ‘Grand Buffet’ experience to the tabletop for diners, while maintaining similar price points. As soon as BC announced dine-in operations could begin to re-open mid-May given they followed the prescribed rules and regulations provided by the Ministry of Health, the Tandoori Flame team got to work.

“We are incredibly fortunate to have exceptional talent on our team, including executives who have worked in high-end eateries and 5-star hotels. We quickly brought our management team from both Ontario and British Columbia together to begin brainstorming options that would both allow us to be sustainable from a business standpoint, but also build consumer confidence while continuing to provide a great in-room dining experience,” explained Gulati.

Prior to the pandemic, Tandoori Flame Restaurants would see over 15,000 guests weekly across all their 3 locations. For them to survive, the team needed to come up with a solution to get in business, safely. They came up with two viable possibilities. The first thought was cafeteria style service, where diners receive a tray and then visit one of the restaurant’s 12 food stations and an attendant would serve them.

The concern here was how to ensure guests were maintaining social distance without intruding on the others In the dining room. The second, and more likely, scenario was to have diners order unlimited food from their table, a format that some diners make be familiar with and akin to an all-you-can-eat sushi restaurant. Guests would order from a pared down menu (likely 50-70 items) from their table, which would then be served to them at their table, family-style.

Between the two options, the team chose the latter. Tandoori Flame presents a new way to buffet: buffet at the table. Buffet at the table means bringing the buffet experience to your tabletop, with up to 7 courses served from approximately 60 items to choose from.

Guests will receive a menu listing of each course and the items available within each course. Courses include: 1) Chaat, 2) Soup, 3) Tandoori Flame Bites, 4) Tandoor/Starters, 5) Salad/Raita, 6) Main Course, 7) Desserts and there will also be a Kid’s Menu. The server will bring the items/ or courses one by one to the table and to avoid food wastage there will be a charge of per portion food wasted ($5/full portion, $3/half portion).

Originally June was already slated to be a busy month for the chain, as they planned to open their first Happy Singh Eats restaurant. The opening has now been put on hold until at least August of this year, while they wrap up construction and instead focus on what feels like three grand openings themselves, as they re-open their existing three Tandoori Flame locations as an entirely new concept.

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Food & Drink

How Dominion Bar + Kitchen is Preparing for Dine in Service in Phase Two of Reopening

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The province of BC has now moved to phase two of reopening, and dining in at restaurants is something many can now look forward to. While this isn’t a go ahead for large friend gatherings at restaurants, it is a sign that things are slowly but positively moving in the right direction.

Dominion Bar + Kitchen is one of the restaurants in Surrey to reopen its doors for customers to dine in. Just like other restaurants in Surrey, Dominion Bar + Kitchen had to adapt to a lot of changes during quarantine.

General manager, Darren Pierce spoke about the restaurant switching to delivery and pickup methods. This was the form of service in place for Dominion Bar + Kitchen until May 25th, when it reopened for customers.

Many guidelines have been put in place in order for the restaurant to properly execute the dine in service. In effort to maintain social distancing, Pierce mentioned the restaurant only allowing in 50 people at a time.

“We’ve [made] sure all of our tables are a minimum of six feet apart, and then we’ve also maxed out each table at six people sitting at a table,” says Pierce.

Along with spacing out customers and maintaining a small number of customers in the restaurant, Dominion Bar + Kitchen has also switched to touchless pay. Pierce also mentioned that hard copy menus have been removed and digital menus are made available.
There are also no cutleries or salt, pepper, and sauces on the tables. Sugars and straws are individually wrapped and delivered to customers when requested. There are multiple sanitizer stations throughout the restaurant, and arrows are used to direct the flow of traffic in the restaurant, according to Pierce.

Dominion Bar + Kitchen has a detailed information sheet from the government around the restaurant which reminds customers to be safe, according to Pierce.

While Dominion Bar + Kitchen has set guidelines for its customers and increased the cleaning at the restaurant. There has also been set guidelines for the staff at the restaurant.

“Upon arrival, all our staff are more than happy to have their temperature checked, and we do a symptom check as well,” says Pierce.
Pierce spoke about how eye opening the lack of customers at the restaurants was and how grateful he was for all the hard work by the government and people of B.C.

“… it definitely opened my eyes [to] how easy something like this can have a massive influence on the business … [and] the people within a business,” says Pierce. “There’s a lot of livelihood at stake and sometimes we take that for granted, … we do provide the bread and butter for the people to pay their bills, make rent, and have a place to live, …. and feed themselves. It’s really opening the eyes to how easily that can all be taken away,” he adds.

“I’d like to acknowledge and commend the amazing work that the B.C. government and the people of B.C. have done. A huge thank you [also] goes out to the front line workers, who were incredibly selfless throughout this entire ordeal and worked to keep us safe, [and] the customers who have supported us while we were closed [by using] our … pickup service and delivery,” says Pierce.

As Dominion Bar + Kitchen continues to work to encourage social distancing and the safety of customers and staff, the restaurant has also introduced some new additions to the menu to ensure the best experience for customers.

“We’ve got a great new menu that just launched on Monday, great new summer and spring items.” says Pierce. “We’re happy to be open and providing a service that I think people really cherish, but we’re doing it under as much precautions as we can,” he adds.

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