Pattison Food Group gets into the restaurant biz

With Wildlight Kitchen + Bar, the group serves up a “celebration” of West Coast cuisine
darrell jones at opening of Wildlight Kitchen + Bar
Pattison Food Group president Darrell Jones at the VIP preview of Wildlight Kitchen + Bar.

Known across Western Canada for its supermarkets (Save-On-Foods among them), Pattison Food Group is now making a move into restaurants.

Last week, the company offered a sneak peek of Wildlight Kitchen + Bar, its first full-service restaurant, ahead of its February grand opening. 

Located at the lelǝḿ Village development at the University of British Columbia in Vancouver, the concept of Wildlight Kitchen + Bar is a “celebration” of West Coast cuisine.

“The restaurant is inspired by our love of the ocean, the forests and the shoreline of beautiful British Columbia,” said  Justin McGregor, general manager of restaurants at Pattison Food Group at the VIP preview event. “It is a celebration of West Coast culture and cuisine where our chef, Warren Chow, has crafted a menu with an exceptionally strong focus on local B.C. flavours and ingredients with variations from around the world.”

At Wildlight, diners can expect unique cocktails and an expansive range of local B.C. wines from the bar (which features prominently in the centre of the restaurant), and tasty creations from the kitchen that include dry-aged beef burgers, duck confit and, of course, seafood such as Hakkaido scallops, miso-glazed sablefish and the restaurant’s signature seafood charcuterie (house-made salmon pastrami, marinated mussels, salt tuna tataki), all served up in a beautiful contemporary space.

So how did Wildlight come to be? 

“More than two years ago Darrell [Jones, president of Pattison Food Group] challenged us to open a restaurant and when he did, we all thought that he was crazy,” said Brenda Kirk, senior vice-president of merchandising and procurement at Pattison Food Group. “We had no idea how to operate or open a restaurant, but I knew we did know a lot about food and a lot about customer experience.” 

Indeed, with nearly a dozen retail banners under its umbrella, the group has figured out how to win with customers; Save-On-Foods, for instance, has earned the distinction of being one of B.C.’s “Most Loved Brands” several times over.

The way Jones sees it, moving into the restaurant business is a “natural fit” for the growing company. “For over 100 years we’ve been supporting local farmers, local wineries and producers in our grocery stores,” Jones said. “Just like the Pattison Food Group’s business, our mission here is very simple: for Wildlight to deliver, always, customer-first service. The team is laser focused on delivering the best premium casual dining experience anywhere in the market.”

But it’s not only a dining experience that’s being served up at the lelǝḿ Village location; adjacent to the restaurant is a new Urban Fare, Pattison Food Group’s upmarket grocery banner, which will also be opening its doors for business in February. 

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