Catchy melodies, clever lyrics, marching band uniforms AND an awesome video featuring SCTV’s Count Floyd (Joe Flaherty)? How can one not love Edmonton-based The Wet Secrets? Check out their new album Free Candy here.
>> Stockholm House Round Tray // Think & Ink // Select items available in Vancouver at London Fields (opening soon), Meadow, Nineteen Ten Home Boutique, The Window Community Art & Walrus and in Victoria at Emporia Boutique.
>> Ceder Incense Cabin// Wishchip
Word play abounds when you’re talking about a sausage & beer parlour named Bestie. Inspired by German street food, the two owners, Clinton McDougall and Dane Brown – those two brats are the wurst – brought their love of a good banger to Vancouver. Bestie seems like an apt moniker for the friendly little spot. The restaurant has pale wood throughout, bright orange and green booths & lighting fixtures, and a cuckoo clock keeping an eye on your lunch break. Currywurst is their specialty: high quality sausage & curried ketchup over crispy fries… poutine’s longlost Bavarian cousin. Fresh baked pretzels share space with a ceramic fortune cat; little Lego men in lederhosen watch over the tip stein; and Chinese lettering in the back hints at the building’s covert past, the hallway rumoured in a bygone era to lead from opium dens to gambling parlours. The Bestie boys embrace the land of beer and sausages as much as the Chinese roots of their chosen neighbourhood. Already woven into the fabric of the community, they attract many regulars and by the looks of the bathroom bulletin board, inspire Bestie-themed artwork and love notes too. Gherkins, beer cocktails, cheese fries and sauerkraut, set to a great soundtrack with a laid back crew: BFF material for sure.
(conversation with Clinton McDougall)
How did you pick your business’ name?
That was a fun process and a challenging process. When choosing the name we always wanted this to be a friendly little sausage and beer parlour, inspired by German street food. So we looked high and low, and got creative and listened to old krautrock bands, and dove into the German dictionary and looked up culinary terms and really reached all around for it. And one day my business partner Dane Brown called me and said :”I think I’ve found it”. [He] was looking through a German-English dictionary (which we had been doing for awhile) and he found the word ‘bestie’ in there. For us ‘bestie’ is youthful slang for ‘my best friend’, and we want to be a friendly little place. But in German it’s also a proper noun, it means ‘beast’, of which we serve several kinds, but also it’s a more menacing aspect to it, like it’s a beast you don’t want to run into in the forest. So on the one hand it’s really friendly, like “Bestie!”, and on the other hand in German it’s quite a dark term, and it’s like this murderous marauding dark beast. And then it also fit into the fact that we were selling bratwurst, so our Twitter and Instagram handle is @bestiewurst, so it hit all of these points, and it was just ambiguous enough too, it wasn’t like “The Sausage Bros”, you know?
Favorite item you serve?
Sausages? (laughs) We bring in a ton of interesting sausages, like right now we’ve got venison and butter chicken, we bring in bison and duckwurst and all these crazy things, but my favorite sausage is our house bratwurst. It’s the one we specially created with our butcher to make with currywurst, and that’s my favorite thing on the whole menu. People always ask me what my favorite one is, and it’s the house bratwurst, it’s kind of like the backbone.
Friday night beverage?
Yup, Saison Bourbon Sour. Yes. We do beer cocktails here, and that’s my favorite beer cocktail, they’re often variations on classics. We make a bourbon sour and cut it with some Saison beer and it’s really good. We have one that’s like an Austrian shandy called the Radler, and it’s grapefruit and lager. We do Campari IPA spritzers. We do Witbier Gin Fizz, and do all these fun beer cocktails. But yeah, Friday night – Saison Bourbon Sour.
They say that the back hall outside the restaurant used to be the secret alley where you could go into secret restaurants and secret businesses, like the Red Door, or the Green Door, old Chinese lore of opium dens and stuff. And there’s some weird Chinese writing in our back hall, and they say that that used to be the entranceway for these secret businesses.
Most interesting business that used to be in this location?
This was an old Chinese books, record and tape store for 50 years, and the old sign still hangs above it, and we’re working with the city, and trying to bring back that old sign, because there used to be a bunch of neon lining our street. And that was here for a long time, and then it was a few different little kind of crappy bubble tea/lotto counter temp businesses, but when we were doing construction on this place and renovating it, the daughter of the owner of the old bookstore was walking by and said “You know my dad used to own the bookstore that was here”, and she’s middle-aged now, and she grew up running around the store, and so we had just recently uncovered some of the Chinese writing outside, that was all covered up by some really shitty tiles and stuff like that, and me and my dad were prying off the tiles and we were like “I think we’re going to find the old colour, maybe an old sign” and I was like “You’re crazy!”, and then we found the writing. And she was like “Yeah, my dad did that!” and it says ‘magazine and book shop’, and the name of the bookshop was ‘Young People’s Store’, so it was a young person’s place to go get books and magazines. It was really cool.
A German who actually gives a compliment, or some of my favorite customers are the old Chinese guys who come in, and sit at the bar, have the same thing for lunch every day, and a little beer, and read the Chinese newspaper. Those are some of my favorite customers. But to be honest, we feel really great here, because everybody who comes in, most everyone, they’re such a good crowd. And that’s one thing we all like, ‘cause we have a nice tight little crew here, there’s just nice folks coming in, interesting people who are stoked on it.
Mascot or business pet?
Mascot… I guess the sausages are mascots, but we’ve got some little German Lego guys who sit up front near the tip stein, and they’re kind of our mascots. And we have a sweet little drawing by an artist over there named Andrew Pommier who’s from the hood, and he drew us kind of a sausage mascot and a ketchup bottle mascot. So maybe those could be the mascots.
Question you are most often asked by your customers?
“How did you come up with this idea?” My business partner and I used to work in design, and we did a lot of travelling, and a lot of eating, and a lot of discussing of ‘wouldn’t-it-be-cool’ ideas. One day while having a shared currywurst experience in Los Angeles of all places, we talked about how something like this could really work in Vancouver. We’re both self-admitted sausage lovers, and we kind of felt like we lived in a sausage-deprived society, and we both spent some time in Berlin and in Germany and had our fair share of currywurst, and we thought ‘this is something that would be really fun to do in Vancouver’. That idea just started snowballing to the point where we were like ‘You know what? We should do this’. And we quit our jobs and started a crowdfunding campaign, and the rest is history.
Favorite Vancouver hidden spot or little-known gem?
Hamburger $2.85. It’s a hamburger cart, that sells hamburgers, for $2.85. And that’s all they sell. And it doesn’t have a name. It’s just ‘Hamburger $2.85’. It’s downtown, off Granville. That and Dunlevy Snackbar.
Describe your neighbourhood in three words.
History. Vitality. And character.
Bestie // 105 Pender St.
>> S’well Reusable Bottle // Welk’s General Store
>> Anne et Valentin Miniclik Glasses // Bruce Eyewear
>> b.ella Erika Tights // Umeboshi Shoes
>> Hay Dot Cushion // Vancouver Special
>> Dr. Sponge Facial Cleansing Sponge // The Soap Dispensary
>> Type B Cameo Ring // Barefoot Contessa
>> Bodybag Malibu Dress // twigg&hottie
>> Hook Stretch Belt // The Lip Lounge
Nominated for a 2014 Juno Award (Roots & Traditional Solo Album of the Year), Lindi Ortega’s album Tin Star has a classic country sound but definitely with her own signature on it – at once sweet, lonely and menacing.
Here is the video for the title track of the album, Tin Star:
and the video for Murder of Crows from the album, Cigarettes & Truckstops: