The Red Wagon is located on East Hastings, just off Nanaimo. Most famously known for being visited by Guy Fieri of Diners, Drive-ins and Dives, this place is worthy of the TripleDs recommendation.
Coming here means you might be waiting a while – no matter what time of the day. But the most busiest time has got to be lunch when lineups curve around the block.
The restaurant’s capacity is probably about 50 people but adds to it’s interesting charm. By interesting, I mean hipster. It feels a little retro and homey that I find common in hipster kind of restaurants but with the blaring indie rock above the masses. I don’t mean hipster in a negative way at all, but I’d feel a little more comfortable if I was with say, Nat.
I came here with Dennis (who by the way has a blog with wife, May at Pangcouver) and of course we had to order the infamous Pulled Pork Pancakes.
The Pulled Pork Pancakes ($12.50) is three stacks of fluffy but dense pancakes with amazingly flavoured pulled pork in the between and served with Jack Daniels maple syrup. This is the most popular item on the menu and it’s easy to see why. Since the pancakes are dense, they soak up the Jack and the flavour from the pulled pork. I normally don’t care much for pulled pork but it is amazing here. Whatever they marinated it with really gave this dish kick. It was overwhelmingly potent in terms of taste, I’m sure there’s some sort of vinegar in the marination but I couldn’t really put my finger on what made it so flavourful. This really packed a punch and although a little steep for what it is, if I were to come back, this would be the only thing I would order.
Dennis also ordered a Rueben ($11 – house brined beef, sauerkraut, swiss, thousand island, grilled rye, chips and pickles). It was nothing really to write home about, but then again, I’m not a big Rueben fan myself. Although they gave a generous amount of the beef, it needed a little more balance – perhaps in the form of more sauerkraut. I found the swiss, thousand island and beef together was a little bland. Also the other side of the sandwich was burnt to a crisp making it harder to enjoy.
Red Wagon Cafe is a hole in the wall that is a great alternative to many brunch spots, their pulled pork pancakes are a force to reckon with and definitely a place you have to try out once (at least for the pancakes).
Check out their website and menu here.