The Cannibal Cafe
By Kristen Moran

Taking a Slice Out of the Competition

Finding great eats on Commercial Drive is easy, with endless options lining the 21-block strip, between 13th Avenue and Venables Street. So when new restaurants come along, it’s important they bring something new to the table. The Cannibal Café did just that when it opened in 2012, but thankfully, and contrary to what their name suggests, it wasn’t human meat.

The punk rock-inspired diner serves up gourmet burgers made from certified BC organic beef, as well as veggie, turkey and salmon patties—all made in-house. General manager Jen Temple thinks what sets The Cannibal Café apart from the rest is that they control the process of all their meats.

“We cut, grind and press our burgers fresh every day and because we control that process, burger’s can be cooked to different degrees.” Jen explains.

Having a variety of options to choose from has definitely added to its popularity.

“We enjoy coming up with creative ideas for specialty burgers or people can build their own,” Jen says. “We even feature a new burger each month to keep the menu exciting. Last month we had the “Teenage Mutant Ninja Burger,” a pizza burger with dry cured pepperoni, sauteed peppers and onions, house-made marinara, provolone cheese and roasted garlic mayonnaise. It sold so well that we ended up adding it to our regular menu and renamed it the Kowabunga burger.”

Another favourite are the milkshakes, which come straight up or in a variety of boozy options. Indulge on Milkshake Mondays, a weekly special that gets you a free milkshake with the purchase of any burger.

Despite the name, we even do a really great veggie burger and provide quite a few options on our menu that are vegetarian, vegan and gluten free. - Jen Temple, general manager

What’s in a Name?

The diner’s concept speaks to owner Matt Thompson’s love for punk rock music and particularly the band SNFU, a classic 80s punk band from Vancouver. The restaurant is named after one of the band’s popular tongue-in-cheek hits. The décor of the diner is also a reminder of Vancouver’s punk rock past, with hundreds of colourful retro concert posters plastered all over the walls.

“These show posters are all originals from the '90s. A lot of these venues have closed down now, so it offers a bit of nostalgia,” she says.

Burgers That Appeal to Everyone, Even Celebrities

The Drive is a culture-rich neighbourhood with people from every walk of life and The Cannibal Café’s well-rounded menu, chock full of local, fresh organic ingredients, means there’s something for everyone.

“Despite the name, we do a really great veggie burger and provide quite a few options on our menu that are vegetarian, vegan and gluten free,” Jen explains.

They’ve also attracted tons of local bands that grab a bite before their shows and they’ve even caught the attention of a superstar.

“We did a takeout order for Cher and her crew when they came to play at Rogers Arena,” Jen remembers. “Her tour manager called me and said he’d heard great things, so we did up a giant order for them of about 40 meals.”

Head down to The Cannibal Café to relive your rock ’n’ roll past or channel your inner punk rocker, and be sure to bring your appetite.

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