Like the corner grocery stores that used to be in every Vancouver neighbourbood, there were also restaurants like Dunbar’s Cosy Inn Café that offered a combined menu of Western cuisine and Chinese food. This is likely how many Vancouverites got introduced to Chinese cuisine before the city evolved and more specialty restaurants open.
The day that I visited, the restaurant was full of people eating, talking, and reading newspapers. It was refreshing and very cosy indeed.
The diner is very modest. There is no fancy décor; the customers create the atmosphere.
“I love the customers here so I decided to buy the business.” Hailey Huang
Hailey Huang is the relatively new owner of Cosy Inn Café. The industrious young business owner got her start as a waitress at the diner and ended up purchasing the café two and a half years ago.
She says she is learning so much as an owner and has become proficient at multitasking. Hailey works very long days, seven days a week. She manages behind the scenes details such as paperwork and ordering; she also waits tables and cooks.
“Operating Cosy Inn Café is a very good experience. Every day is a challenge and I feel happy even when it’s hard because I learn something,” says Hailey.
Everyone from local construction workers to seniors pop in to kick off their day with breakfast (this is home of the all day breakfast), lunch or dinner.
The restaurant closes at 8:00 p.m. on weekdays and is not open in the evening on weekends; however, this will soon change as Hailey is planning to extend the hours of operation beginning this summer. As well, she will be offering a new evening menu to accompany this change.
Hailey takes pride in offering home style cooking.
If you like an early breakfast, Cosy Inn Café opens bright and early at 7:30 a.m. seven days a week. The all-inclusive breakfast is a popular pick. It features two eggs, bacon, sausages and ham served with toast and the side dish of your choice (grilled tomatoes, French fries or homemade hash browns). The French toast and pancake breakfasts are also top picks.
Lunch favourites include burgers, sandwiches and soups, along with chef’s daily specials.
The Chinese menu items feature chow mein (both soft and crispy styles are offered), fried rice, Kung Pao chicken, Pad Thai, stir fry shrimp with veggies and wonton soup.
What feedback does Hailey most enjoy hearing? She says, “When customers say Cosy Inn Café has the best food and friendly service, and that is what keeps them coming back.”
Hailey lives in Dunbar. She was originally from China and lived in Calgary for a number of years before moving to Vancouver. She is aware that Dunbar is in a time of transition.
“Change can be hard for people but once things settle down it will nice,” she says.
Hailey is eagerly anticipating the summer months with the upcoming changes at Cosy Inn Café. She says, “My regular customers have been asking for this.”
Soon Dunbar residents can look forward to running into neighbours enjoying a late meal at this cosy community fixture.
Cosy Inn Café
4455 Dunbar Street
Vancouver, BC V6S 2G4