At the Best Western, soon-to-be Sheraton, but called by locals Richmond Inn in BC, Canada, there is a fantastic restaurant called Harold’s Bistro and Bar. There’s something about Harold’s restaurant, which used to be a hang out for seniors at lunchtime.
Since the Sheraton took over the Richmond Inn (the official change takes place July 1, 2009), the hotel has been undergoing a major facelift. The restaurant, though, has kept a vestige of its past solidly intact.
Harold has been eating at the Richmond Inn since the mid-70s. Everyday at lunch, him and his wife have walked into the restaurant and ordered a sandwich special. Everyday. When his wife passed away last year, Harold continued to go each day at lunch to order the sandwich special.
Same seat, same meal (don’t worry, the specials change daily, so he’s been getting a variety). The hotel named the restaurant after him last year to honour his patronage.
The menu here is eclectic, focusing on home cooked meals. Things like foot long hot dogs, fish & chips and liver & cod co-exist with more contemporary fare like fresh seafood and butternut squash soup. It’s a cliché to say that they have a little bit for everyone, but they actually do.
I also like the atmosphere of an open room, almost southern-style- there are no doors to enter and the windows are almost floor to ceiling, on a sunny day giving an effect of being in Mexico or the Caribbean in an open spaced eatery- with different pockets of seating.
You can eat in a booth, at regular tables off to the side and facing the courtyard pool; you can eat at the bar facing the TVs with the game on, or you can sidle up to the communal table and eat with complete strangers (you can also plug in your laptop at the communal table).
What I liked:
- Naming the restaurant Harold’s after this long time customer. It keeps the old feel of the Richmond Inn and upgrades it to a place where people of all ages can hang out.
- I love the idea of having one communal table, where diners can plug in their laptops or eat with new friends.
The menu is so varied that people of all ages and all types of tastes can find something they like.
- If you go at lunch, you’re bound to see Harold sitting down for his meal. Just ask a server to point him out to you.
- It’s great to have a brand name chain hotel keep some of its local history alive by changing the name to Harold’s and keeping menu items that have been around forever (well, since the hotel opened in the 1970s).