Block Party: We dig into University Boulevard on UBC campus

This strip has become a battleground for some of Vancouver's favourite burgeoning restaurant franchises.

Credit: Rich Won. Downlow Chicken

This strip has become a battleground for some of Vancouver’s favourite burgeoning restaurant franchises

1. Loafe Cafe

The name really is perfect for capitalizing on that classic description of students being lazy that we all love. But Loafe, which has been around since 2015, is very much on it when it comes to its offerings, which include craft beer and coffee from Pallet Coffee Roasters. Loafe is owned by Kilslaay Restaurant Group, which also operates Koerner’s Pub elsewhere on campus. 

2. Browns Crafthouse

This is where we’re going to start getting into the names you’ve definitely heard before. And of course there’s a Browns. Why not? All three Browns Crafthouse Vancouver locations have opened in the last few years, with the UBC one being the latest to arrive in 2021. The new Starbucks? There are worse places that could take that mantle. We welcome our new restaurant overlords.

3. Downlow Chicken

A fun trend is happening these days in which Vancouverites see one of their favourite restaurants opening a second location and get excited, only to find out it’s in UBC and way too far. That was undoubtedly the case for many when Commercial Drive’s beloved DL Chicken came to campus. We can only imagine the lines are even worse there. It’s always worth the wait though, even if you have to miss the start of class.

4. Jamjar Canteen

Another Commercial Drive classic at UBC. Jamjar took Vancouver by storm with its innovative Lebanese cuisine when it opened years ago. It’s become a staple on campus as well and has since also done the “other move” these smaller restos often pull off in opening a North Vancouver location.

5. Tacomio

Okay, this one might not be as immediately recognizable, mostly because the original Tacomio location is basically a food stand off the beaten path and directly behind what was, for a couple of years at least, a park many deemed unvisitable. Now with locations here in UBC and in North Van (told you), the restaurant hasn’t lost a bit of its authenticity and deliciousness. Is it weird to have it in an actual restaurant setting instead of out of a box? Sure. But that’s progress.

6. Steve’s Poke Bar

I have no idea whose idea it was to name this restaurant chain Steve’s Poke Bar. (Okay, I guess there’s a decent probability it was done by someone named Steve.) The chain is a serious establishment now though, with more than a dozen locations. It has spread out from its Surrey HQ to Vancouver, Abbotsford and Squamish. Next, the world.

7. Rain or Shine

Because why wouldn’t we end with ice cream? Forget Coke vs. Pepsi, the real franchise battle to watch is Rain or Shine vs. Earnest. The latter has four locations now and has claimed North Van as its own. But Rain or Shine stuck a stake into prime battleground in UBC, further cementing its hold on the west side. Stay the hell tuned.