Vancouver’s burger scene is about to get a jolt of East Coast fast-casual energy thanks to the launch of three reLiSH Gourmet Burger restaurants in the city.
The chain hails from New Brunswick, but does have an important tie to Vancouver behind the scenes that’s prompting their westward expansion.
When it comes to expansion, reLiSH made headlines in 2013 for their ambitious plans to make bold strides on the global market, and founder Rivers Corbett’s vision to take the chain to 500 worldwide locations within five years. Currently reLiSH has four locations: Two in Fredericton, and one each in Halifax and St. John’s.
The upcoming Metro Vancouver reLiSH locations (Davie at Bidwell, Commercial Drive at 7th, and Londsdale at 16th) marks some of the business’ first steps in a planned North American expansion. ReLiSH says they plan to open all three in B.C. in mid-July, along with a second in Halifax. Edmonton is slated for June, and New Hampshire (in the U.S.) sometime this summer.
On the menu are fresh Angus beef patties (turkey and veggie options are available, too, are are gluten-free buns) grilled to order and served with a broad selection of gourmet topping combos, many with geographically-inspired names. The “L.A. is my Lady,” for example, is topped with sliced avocado, roasted peppers, basil pesto, and creamy goat cheese. Sides include cole slaw, fries or sweet potato fries, and their Brew City Onion Rings.
The restaurant’s philosophy touches on a customer-centric dining experience that gives diners a space in which to connect with the community and enjoy eating, or, as their name indicates, relish their burgers.
In an e-mail interview, Corbett talked about what Vancouver can expect from reLiSH.
What prompted the expansion into the Vancouver market?
Rivers Corbett: Simple – Chef Ray [Henry] grew up in the Vancouver area, crafted his chef talent in Vancouver and, hey…it doesn’t hurt Chef Ray is also a huge BC Lions and Vancouver Canucks fan. All of that plus the food scene in Vancouver is very progressive and totally reflects the culture of reLiSH Gourmet Burgers. Going to Vancouver was the natural next move both professionally and personally.
What can Vancouver expect from a burger restaurant that hails from the Maritimes? Is there anything different about burgers or sides that come from the other side of the country?
There are better burgers and then there are gourmet burgers. reLiSH is all about a eating experience never experienced. Think the DisneyWorld of Burgers. Add in a Maritime Canada personality …. That’s a recipe that’s hard to match. Have you ever met a Maritimer you didn’t reLiSH?
Where will your beef be coming from for the Vancouver locations?
Consistency is the heart of our business…the hero…the gourmet burgers ..is critically important for all our locations. Our guests deserve that quality and consistency and for that reason we source all our certified Angus fresh ground chuck beef from Alberta.
Tell us a little more about the concept of the customer connecting with the dining experience through the heart.
Relish is a verb to us, even though we have an amazing beet based relish topping designed by Chef Ray. And because relish is a verb to us it drives our company to reflect in our actions and plans all what the verb represents…love, respect, connection, admiration etc..all targeted to everyone that connects to our business, including guests, suppliers, staff and community
Where are things now with reLiSH’s major global expansion plans?
Our plans are back on track and the foundation of our business is the strongest it has ever been. Admittedly, we had a set back when a major investment fell through at the very last moment but since then we have connected with a new investment group who is even more committed to our growth plan than the previous candidate. Things are good at reLiSH Gourmet Burgers.