Jan's on the Beach
By Tracey Rayson

Everything Fresh, Everything Housemade

For Janet Wait, owner and executive chef of White Rock's Jan's on the Beach, inspiration to open her oceanfront eatery emerged from a five-week vacation across the pond.

Janet recalls dining in Paris cafés and Barcelona bistros, seduced by vibrant flavours and intoxicating aromas of market-fresh food, where authentic dishes are made from scratch. At the time, she was an independent caterer. The business was flourishing and she needed somewhere to cook and create other than her home kitchen. Eating her way through France and Spain was literally food for thought, where naturally, the seed was planted: "Wouldn't it be cool to open my own place like this," she recalls, without citing any one particular spot, but at the time, she says, she chalked it up to blue-sky thinking.

I was honoured to accept the South Surrey-White Rock Chamber of Commerce 2013 Outstanding Business of the Year Award: New Business; but honestly, it's a reflection of our entire team's efforts. - Janet Wait, executive chef and owner
Jan's on the Beach - Breakfast, lunch, dinner, catering
Endless oceans views stretch to the San Juan Islands and Olympic Peninsula.

Open Kitchen & Ocean Views

Today, rather than daydreaming from the seaside taverns and sunny terraces overlooking the Mediterranean, Janet creates simple but earnest fare from an open kitchen in her casually elegant award-winning restaurant — the ink blue Pacific never far from her sightline (views stretch to the San Juan Islands on clear days).

Fresh seafood and classic dishes are the mainstays, something she’s practiced from age 14, taking over the family cooking duties from her mother. Her passion to construct a locavore menu (for her catering gigs, too) is dependent on what's seasonal and available. Not only does she source local and organic whenever possible, Janet strives to support small businesses in White Rock, like neighbourhood artisans. "We get our breads from Hillcrest, just up the hill (as the name suggests), because it's part of the community business network process; if it helps one person, it helps everyone," she says.

Throngs of locals know the breakfast menu by heart, dropping in on any given morning to get their Benny fix. Janet elevates the classic brunch staple, built simply with salmon (smoked in-house) or shrimp, a nod to their seaside locale. Standouts among dinner mains are kicked-up with new spins on old standbys, like the classically influenced double pork loin chop with apple raisin sauce. Janet's go-to favourite is blackened halibut with saffron butter, saddled with butternut squash risotto.

With the exposed kitchen, diners can watch Janet fillet a fresh halibut and view food prep for an array of signature eats prepared from scratch, an impromptu cooking lesson for those with acute observation.

Jan's on the Beach - Breakfast, lunch, dinner, catering
Gord strums acoustic chords of Jackson Brown's “Running on Empty,” one of his all-time favourites.

Live Music, Neighbourly Vibe

The 40-seat space lends itself to a relaxed social eating vibe, where it’s not uncommon for your neighbour to pull up next to you; the 30-seat heated outdoor patio, perhaps one of the most alluring aspects to the aforementioned happenstance, has a possible future for storm watching, as Janet reveals, "we're looking into some plexiglass options."

Gord, Janet's husband and co-owner, draws a crowd on Friday and Saturday nights performing soft acoustic covers unplugged. Evidently, his music captivated Janet early on. One day in ninth grade, she skipped class to see Gord's band practice. Decades later, their marriage remains a fusion of food and music.

Jan's on the Beach - Breakfast, lunch, dinner, catering
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