In 1957 Save On Meats opened up their doors, and built a dedicated following over the years. Over time, many of Vancouver's Downtown Eastside businesses began closing their doors. Boarded-up windows and doors became the norm along East Hastings. In recent years, however, Gastown has seen a huge revitalization that has brought new condos, world-class restaurants and bars, trendy boutique shops and life back into Vancouver's oldest neighborhood. In 2009, the original owner of Save On Meats had to hang up his butcher's knife and retire.
When word of this got out, there was talk of turning the building into condos, but local Mark Brand decided that wouldn't do. He purchased the Save On Meats with the high hope of bringing it back to its glory so that it could continue to be a local hangout, as it had been for many years previous.
Today, you can go in and grab a burger and chat with fellow diners, or grab some meat to take home and cook. Brand has done an outstanding job bringing life back, while maintaining the original integrity of the atmosphere, food, price point and service. Not does that make this business special, but it has all been documented on a six-part series for the Oprah Winfrey Network, called Gastown Gamble. It wasn't a walk in the park to bring this thriving business back to life, but this labor of love has been well worth the journey. It's also been featured on the Food Network's Diners, Drive-ins and Dives.
Save On Meats Before the Renovation — Photo courtesy of Oggie Dog (Flickr)