Keighty Gallagher’s top spots to eat and drink in Strathcona

Tight Club Athletics founder Keighty Gallagher knows the value of a balanced lifestyle. When she’s not working up a sweat during one of her signature fitness classes, you’ll find her eating and drinking at some of Strathcona’s coolest dining destinations. From coffee to cocktails, Keighty gives us the lowdown on her favourite places in her East Van ’hood. [Mackenzie Room photo credit: Katie Cross Photography]

Matchstick Coffee

213 Georgia St E, Vancouver, BC V6A 1Z6

Matchstick Café is definitely a place where I can spend all my money. The coffees are great – whether it’s a latte or a pour-over – and the space is so beautiful. I actually use the café a lot for meetings. The baristas here are also super friendly, which is a common thread in all of the places I go to. If I can make a relationship with the staff and they get to know me by name that’s what’s gonna keep me coming back.

Pizzeria Farina

915 Main St, Vancouver, BC V6A 2V8

You can’t go wrong with a slice from this classic pizzeria on Main Street. I like to grab a thin-crust pie to take away and eat it on top of the parkade above Matchstick Coffee. My favourite pizza is the classic Margherita topped with arugula and lots of mozzarella.

The Mackenzie Room

415 Powell St, Vancouver, BC V6A 1G7

I love this farmhouse-style restaurant on Powell; it’s relatively new and has quickly become one of my favourite spots in Strathcona. It’s got a great vibe and the wait staff are fantastic – I leave with new friends every time I visit. Everything is high quality and you can tell they really put thought into their ingredients. The chalkboard menu can sound a bit precious, but all of the items come out in super large portions and I always leave feeling stuffed. I love the garden vegetables and a dish called The Showstopper, which features legumes, farmer’s cheese and pistachios.

The Boxcar

917 Main St, Vancouver, BC V6A 2V8

The Boxcar is a new bar that just opened in the neighbourhood right in between Pizza Farina and The Cobalt. I loved it the minute I stepped inside. It’s a cool space with a long narrow bar, a great beer selection and hip-hop music on the stereo. If I drank more and I had more time after teaching classes I’d go there every day!

Benny Foods Ltd

598 Union St, Vancouver, BC V6A 2B8

Benny’s is a great little Italian grocery store and deli at the corner of Union and Princess that’s just a block away from my place. You can find a little bit of everything here: from fruits and vegetables to doughnuts and breakfast wraps. It’s my go-to spot if I need to grab something to eat that’s super fast. The family-run shop has been in business for more than 85 years and the owners are super friendly and a bit kooky and they love to talk.

The Union

219 Union St, Vancouver, BC V6A 2B2

The Union has always been one of my favourite local restaurants for dinner, but I recently discovered their weekend brunch. I was sick of waiting in line everywhere else in the city and was so happy when I found out that this spot – just down the street from my studio – does an awesome brunch. The fusion menu offers a Vietnamese twist on typical breakfast foods. I also love their bangas: simple and fresh cocktails served in jars. If I don’t want booze, I go for the Lapu Lapu, a refreshing non-alcoholic cocktail with cucumber juice and coconut water.

Harvest Community Foods

243 Union St, Vancouver, BC V6A 2B2

There are a few great spots along the Union Street strip close to Tight Club. I love going to Harvest for lunch. The hearty menu features filling ramen dishes and a few other interesting noodle bowls. You can tell that chef and owner Andrea Carlson – who also owns Burdock and Co. on Main Street – really cares about the quality of the food. The café is also a great spot for people watching; you can sit out on the street-front patio and watch the bikers go by.

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