3292 Cambie St, Vancouver, BC V5Z 2W4
I’m sure most of us Vancouverites have heard of De Dutch – there are several locations all across the Lower Mainland. Well, Dutch Wooden Shoe Cafe is the OG and was founded by the same owner as De Dutch, John Dys and was first opened 30 years ago. Unfortunately, he recently passed away and the restaurant is now under new ownership.
We wandered over to Cambie on a rainy Thanksgiving Monday morning. Having spent all of Sunday in the kitchen making dinner, I figured it would be a nice break from cooking.
The restaurant seemed like it was from a time capsule: kitschy decor including beer steins and glasses from different brands lined the shelves, wooden lattices painted in whites and greens divided the restaurant, polaroid snaps of diners posted on the walls to remind patrons of a time ago. We tried to decipher the eras based on clothing style and iPhone models.
There was a single server for the whole restaurant of 20 or so tables but the restaurant was only a quarter full when we entered. Much different from the hustle and bustle from my last visit over 5 years ago. The server was warm and sat us right away. We looked at their menu and made some typical decisions: my partner chose the pannekoek with sausage and bacon, while I opted for a roast beef benny. Coffee was definitely in order.
Our food arrived pretty quickly and upon initial review, I could tell that it wasn’t the same as it used to be. My partner’s pannekeok filled the full plate but the sausage was lacklustre and the order didn’t include butter and syrup – you had to ask for it. He said he preferred the same iteration at De Dutch.
My roast beef benny came with some salad, which resembled a coleslaw mix with bottled Thousand Island dressing. The benny was pretty underwhelming: the base was a rusk which is bread resembling a giant crouton, the roast beef was thin and not flavourful, the egg was cooked over-easy which was good, and the hollandaise was creamy though I couldn’t tell if it was made in house or from a mix/carton, and the potatoes were definitely frozen bagged ones you would buy at the grocery store.
I thought back to the last time I had breakfast/brunch at De Dutch. The portions here were about the same however, the quality was definitely lacking. However, their coffee was decent and bottomless which made the meal a bit more appealing but overall, I preferred De Dutch. I enjoyed the reminiscent feel of the restaurant and its tributes to John Dys, with trinkets of history all over the place which made it a bit heartwarming.
I don’t think I would come back to Dutch Wooden Shoe Cafe given the other (albeit pricier) option of De Dutch, unless I was feeling really nostalgic for the old-school Holland vibes.
- Coffee $2.75
- #26: Boeren (Farmer’s) Pannekoek $15.95
- Benny with Roast Beef $12
Beats: Old Skool Love – Divine Brown