Mark Brand, some may call him the king of Gastown, others may call him crazy. Having met him for the first time this past week, to me he’s just a normal, somewhat crazy guy that loves his city. I can relate. This city needs more people like Mark Brand. He not only talks the talk but he walks it! He is what makes Vancouver well, Vancouver.
Thanks to him Save-On-Meats, a Vancouver institution for decades has been given a second lease on life and it re-opens today. Go out and try the best burgers in town and support good people.
We at Vancity Buzz salute you and commend you for your efforts.
A little history lesson for you new and unfamiliar to the city:
Al DesLauriers opened Save On Meats at 43 West Hastings in 1957 amid the shine of dozens of neon signs up and down what was then considered Vancouver’s main shopping and entertainment district. The famous ‘flying pigs’ were a beacon for customers and a major attraction along Hastings Street.
But while the city grew and other businesses closed down or moved away Save On Meats remained in its original location serving its loyal clientele for the next 54 years.
In 2009 Al retired and the butcher shop was shut, leaving Vancouverites to mourn the loss of Vancouver legend, not to mention one of the best burgers in town.
Local restaurateur Mark Brand was one of those residents who truly missed Save On Meats and wanted to see it get saved from the wrecking ball. So he took the project on himself.
His plan was to bring back the original butcher shop of course but Save On Meats was always more than just steaks and burgers. Working closely with community leaders and organizations in the DTES as well as many local suppliers and key partners at City Hall Mark and his team re-shaped the enterprise to include a number of green and social initiatives that are designed benefit all of the residents of the area and for that matter Vancouver.