Eat Local, Give Local: B.C. Restaurants Making a Difference


© Courtesy of Big Wheel Burger

By Allie Murray

Now more than ever, supporting our local restaurants is of the utmost importance.

Nearly three years into the COVID-19 pandemic, restaurants have arguably taken the hardest hit. But many B.C. restaurants are stepping up to not only support other impacted restaurateurs but are making commitments to continue supporting local businesses, charities, and giving back to those in need.

Ranging from sustainable practices to fundraising for charity, we are spotlighting the unsung food heroes across the province.

Kind Cafe & Eatery

© Kind Cafe & Eatery
B.C. Restaurants, Eat Local, Kind Cafe
© Tosha Lobsinger

Founded by father and daughter duo Samantha and Marvin Emerman, Kind Cafe & Eatery is on a mission to create a kinder experience for the planet, animals, the community, and ourselves.

The cafe serves plant-based food made with eco-friendly resources and local ingredients. They also operate as a zero-waste eatery, using reusable cloths instead of disposable napkins and no single-use plastics or cups. And, for takeout, they encourage you to BYOC—bring your own container or opt for a deposit on a reusable container! They work with local suppliers to ensure everything is as sustainable as possible.

In-store, the family-owned business also makes and stocks groceries for all your at-home needs, working with other local businesses and vendors to further instill plant-based and eco-friendly solutions in the community.

The Emerman family, as well as their amazing staff, works tirelessly in the cafe to make it a positive environment for all visitors. Both Samantha and Marvin are vegans and environmentalists, with a combination of 40 years of restaurant experience between them.

Big Wheel Burger

© Courtesy of Big Wheel Burger
© Courtesy of Big Wheel Burger

Devoted to sustainable practices, Big Wheel Burger opened in 2011 as Canada’s first carbon-neutral fast food restaurant. The restaurant was founded on the idea that fast food didn’t have to be junk food. Everything from the menu to the packaging is sustainable and doesn’t
pollute the environment and local communities.

The packaging is 100 percent compostable and is turned into high-quality compost for their FED garden, created in partnership with Food Eco District. The Food Eco District is a non-profit organization that works with local restaurants that are committed to reducing their impact on the environment. The compost in the gardens is used to provide green space, offset carbon emissions, and even get used in the kitchen. Similarly, their beef is 100 percent B.C. beef, sourced from 63 Acres, and their diversion rate is 99.6 percent, meaning only 0.4 percent of their garbage ends up in the landfill.

Big Wheel Burger has four locations across B.C. and is working towards creating positive change for people across the province. To do so, they launched The Big Wheel Burger Community Foundation to support people struggling with food insecurity and poverty.

They work with charitable partners to provide immediate assistance to those in need. Their 2022 partners include Victoria Hospice, Big Brothers Big Sisters of Victoria, The Mustard Seed, Tillicum Lelum Aboriginal Friendship Centre, Nanaimo Foundation, and Loaves and Fishes.

Anthem Pizza

© Courtesy of Anthem Pizza

Making pizzas that are inspired by music and musicians, Anthem Pizza serves Pizza with Purpose.

A portion of the proceeds from Anthem Pizza goes towards non-profits such as Unison Benevolent Fund, Movember, and B.C. Children’s Hospital Foundation.

The restaurant currently has two locations in Vancouver and works to help local people in need and projects that they are passionate about. When supporting the Pizza with Purpose program, you don’t just get a delicious pizza delivered to your door, you also get that deliciously warm feeling inside when you know you’ve done something good for others.

Anthem Pizza unique box art is designed by local artists, and honours locals and legends in the music industry, as well as focusing on current political and relevant events.

Anthem Pizza works on the mindset that “We care about where we live and how everyone’s doing here, especially those having a harder time than the rest of us. That is our Anthem, sung loud, hardcore, and rebellious.”

White Spot

© Courtesy of White Spot Ltd.
© Courtesy of White Spot Ltd.
© Courtesy of White Spot Ltd.

Opening their doors in 1928, White Spot has always focused on giving back. As Canada’s longest-running restaurant chain, helping the community was important to their founder Nat Bailey, and they proudly carry out his tradition by jumping in to support when the community needs it most and through their continued support for children’s charities.

The restaurant first began as a mobile lunch counter by Vancouver local Nat Bailey, when he transformed his Model T to serve as a travelling lunch spot at Vancouver’s Lookout Point. Today, they operate over 50 full service White Spot restaurants, a fully functioning food truck, known as Triple O’s On-the-Go, and over 70 premium quick service restaurants called Triple O’s, famous for their burgers, fries and hand-scooped milkshakes, available for dine-in and drive-thru.

Amid the COVID-19 pandemic and the wildfires that tore through B.C., White Spot and Triple O’s stepped up to support their community. In March 2020, the Triple O’s On-the-Go food truck delivered and donated more than 5,000 burgers to healthcare, first responders, and community heroes.

Similarly, during the wildfires, they raised more than $200,000 for the Canadian Red Cross to support the wildfire relief efforts.

In addition to their charitable contributions, Triple O’s restaurants have grown across the country with locations in B.C., Alberta, and Ontario while White Spot continues to serve guests in communities across BC.

Since 1966, White Spot has been an active supporter of Variety, The Children’s Charity, including the Variety’s Show of Hearts Telethon, Boat for Hope and more. And this year, they are hopeful for the return of their annual Pirate Pak Day, a fundraising event that has raised close to $900,000 to help send children with life-threatening illnesses and chronic disabilities to summer camp at Zajac Ranch.

With a visit to a White Spot, Triple O’s or the On-the-Go food truck, you can enjoy the best burgers, fries, shakes, and more.


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