Lisa Boehme Reinvents and Relaunches The Superior

Photo by Rebecca Wellman

Lisa Boehme. Photo by Rebecca Wellman

“Evolution of a Superior Species”



Blue-eyed, flame-haired Lisa Boehme has regained her mojo and then some. After flirting with burnout in recent years, she’s relaunched her James Bay restaurant as The Superior, dropping “café” from the title and gearing down from six nights a week to a more manageable Thursday-to-Saturday night supper-club format. Live music, film-noir nights and famously eclectic furnishings remain hallmarks of one of Victoria’s coziest, hippest rooms. Meanwhile, Kevin Hernandez (Boehme’s new husband and mojo-maker in chief) and Kellan Musseau are continuing popular ex-chef Torin Egan’s innovative ways with all things local and organic.

Boehme certainly appreciates the value of evolutionary change. Her latest aesthetic makeover of the Superior is the 38th such seasonal facelift since the room opened in 2005. The spring look features a floor-to-ceiling repaint, a collection of fur-bearing taxidermy pieces and, appropriately, a “survival of the fittest” blackboard quote from Charles Darwin.  “The restaurant trade isn’t easy at the best of times, and I’d been unhappy the last few years,” she says. “With Torin heading off for new adventures, we needed to adapt or die. Now we’ve removed a lot of the pressure and still retained everything that makes this place so special.  All of us here are totally excited about where we’re headed.”

One new wrinkle: VIP guest chefs will be taking over the kitchen on occasional Saturday nights in the future, an initiative that Boehme figures makes her 1912 heritage hideaway even more of an event-oriented destination. “We’ve giving some of the Pacific Northwest’s amazingly talented chefs a chance to shine in a new setting. It’s a win for them, for us and local diners.” First on deck on May 25 is Castro Boateng, former chef at the Aerie. Daidoco’s Naotatsu Ito and former Sooke Harbour House chef Robin Jackson are booked for a collaborative evening on June 28.

Lighting up with another smile, Boehme reveals she’s also headed back to her coffeehouse roots. Upon relocating from La Jolla, California, with her antiques-dealer dad in the mid-1980s, she launched and ran for a decade one of the city’s first cool java joints—south Johnston Street’s La Boheme.  Early this spring she won approval from City Hall to operate what promises to be a landmark coffee stand on the sunny west side of the same building that houses The Superior. The Mortis Cycle Donut Company, as it shall be known, will feature takeaway barista drinks, 2 Percent Jazz coffee and baked goods made by Hernandez, a veteran of Seattle’s celebrated Macrina Bakery. “We’ve named it after the fact that I call Kevin ‘mon amour,’ and he calls me ‘mon amortis,’” she says with a bright laugh. Swooning little deaths are sure to ensue as patrons bite into fresh biscuits, doughnuts and homemade ice cream sandwiches in the months ahead.

—By Jeff Bateman


The Superior

106 Superior Street, Victoria BC, 250-380-9515



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