The Uncommon Cafe
477 Powell St, Vancouver, BC V6A 1G7

Meet the owner

Let's face it: In the early 2000s, Vancouver’s historic Japantown was never known for its food scene. No one ever raved about a fabulous dinner out on Powell Street. However, this area that has been undergoing something of a renaissance. Many high-tech, fashion and design companies set up shop here. This is where you will also discover a gem of an eatery – The Uncommon Café.

The Uncommon Café is the brainchild of husband-and-wife team, Lisa and executive chef Luc Leimanis. “Initially, the idea was to find a space to open a commissary, as I wanted to grow my baking business,” says Lisa. “We soon found out local commissaries were either full or too expensive.”

When they found their location on Powell Street in 2014, the couple decided the diner-style front was the perfect spot to whip up some delicious homespun breakfast and lunch offerings.

Soon, the people came. Everyone from nurses, social workers, architects, tech geeks and locals, mingle alongside each other to nosh on dishes inspired by Luc and Lisa’s family recipes. “We wanted an inclusive space that welcomed everybody and anybody who comes through our doors,” says Lisa.

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Must-try lunch spots in Vancouver's Railtown neighbourhood

Must-try lunch spots in Vancouver's Railtown neighbourhood

This family-run spot lives up to its name. You’ll feel like you’re in the personal dining room of owners Lisa and Luc Leimanis, who have decorated the whitewashed space with mismatched furniture, collages of frames, and colourful Persian rugs. The business strives to be 90 per cent sustainable: ingredients are locally sourced, and almost all containers are biodegradable. Choose from sandwiches such as the stuffed meatball or seasonal veg, snack on a homemade muffin or cookie, or take home one of the Leimanis’ famous sauces after your midday meal.

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