City Eats Tofino (March/April)

It’s a bit surprising that it’s taken so long, but Tofino now has a dedicated vegan and vegetarian restaurant. Opened in the space in The Shore building (368 Main St.) previously occupied by The Fish Store and Oyster Bar, this concept is actually a transplant from Port Alberni. Richard Michalenko, the owner and operator, was looking for a new space and was lucky enough to find one downtown Tofino. He calls his menu, which includes breakfast, all-day brunch and dinner options, “comfort food with pizazz”. The sweet and savoury waffles (with gluten free options) and the Budhalicious Bowl are already bringing the people back. Some other options include Teaz Smoothies, quesadillas and a bannock benny. Michalenko said he is sourcing his ingredients as locally as possible and he is willing to work with dietary restrictions. Teaz Me Eatery will be open each day except for Mondays. Find it on Instagram.

Owner Lutz Zilliken is moving The Fish Store next to Red Can Gourmet at 700 Industrial Way. Though he will no longer operate the Oyster Bar, fresh and frozen Clayoquot Sound and other seafood, including oysters, smoked salmon and crab will still be available for purchase, along with sauces, spices and other specialty items. Zilliken also operates West Pacific Seafoods next door to this location, where he focuses on wholesale and custom processing and smoking.

Red Can Gourmet will be curtailing its dine-in space with the arrival of The Fish Store, and the focus will be on take-out dining and catering. Chef Tim May said he will host Throwback Thursday brunches so locals can still get their fix of his popular brunch menu.

The moves continue! Tofino Coffee Company is moving its roasting facility to the building across the street formerly occupied by the Tofino Brewing Company (last month we shared news of the brewery’s expansion one street address down closer to Pacific Rim Hwy). But don’t worry, the Tofino Coffee shop will stay in the same location at 112-605 Campbell St.
Picnic Charcuterie will be expanding its small but mighty shop into Tofino Coffee’s vacated roasting space (around the back of Red Can Gourmet and The Fish Store at 700 Industrial), so there will be more space for your cured meat and specialty cheese fix (not to mention the frozen section with whole chickens, premade meals and more). Undoubtedly chef and owner Tina Windsor will have more in the works for the new space.

And finally, the Pacific Rim Whale Festival is a celebration of the return of gray whales to this area. In true west coast style, a variety of events take place during a two-week period to mark this occasion. Running from March 10-25th, the whale festival kicks off with a parade in Tofino. Black Rock Resort is hosting Barnacle Bluegrass on March 17th with Nanaimo blues artist David Gogo and undoubtedly some delicious food and drink options. The infamous Chowder Chowdown takes place March 18th at the Ucluelet Community Centre. This is a chance for local chefs to dish up their best chowders and vie for the People’s Choice and Judges’ Choice awards. There are lots of other great non-culinary events that make up the whale festival, and you can check it all out here: www.pacificrimwhalefestival.com.

There are a few other surprises in store for summer in Tofino, but we have to wait for confirmations so please check back in the new issue.

-Jen Dart

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