A new opportunity for organic dining is available to locals as of Sept.15 in north Nanaimo.

World renowned Canadian chef David Wong unveiled his restaurant, The Jar, on 6595 Applecross Rd., formerly the Urban Beet Café. The Jar offers breakfast and lunch menus featuring local, handcrafted ingredients influenced by the seasons.

The Jar offers a variety of homemade and jarred jams. “The [restaurant] title represents a simpler time when things were preserved and food was made from scratch,” says Chef Wong.

He describes his restaurant as “charming,” with booths, leather chairs, and a patio during the summer months. The Jar comfortably accommodates 54 customers. The blend of leather and wooden decor create an atmosphere Wong labels “rustic elegance.”

Wong’s menu inspiration is “to be worldly in flavour profiles and have fun.” Wong does so, by incorporating flavours from around the world, while using locally sourced ingredients such as wheat from the Cowichan Valley, fresh picked lettuce, free-run eggs, and hormone and anti-biotic free pork from Qualicum Bay.

The Jar differs from other restaurants in its ordering protocol. Orders must first be made and settled at the front before customers are numbered and served meals, pairing restaurant and café concepts in service. Delivery orders are available online, and must fulfill a $150 minimum requirement. Catering is not yet available, as the restaurant itself is still new. “We want to ensure we offer a great in-restaurant dining experience,” Wong says.

Chef Wong’s cooking resumé and ambition began early in his life. “I’ve had a disciplined work life since I can remember,” Wong says. Wong’s first job was working at his parent’s grocery store in Nanaimo; he then worked at a public market in produce, and later at Mrs. Riches restaurant before continuing his cooking career in Vancouver hotels. In 2001, Wong held Canadian Apprentice of the Year title, and was appointed to Culinary Team Canada, placing 2nd in the world. In 2009, Wong represented Canada in the Bosuse D’or Worldwide Cooking Competition held in Lyon, France placing 9th.

Wong was not hesitant to open an eatery during the period of closures Nanaimo has been facing. “I am confident with the concept and believe we will service a niche. This was our ideal location and it happened to pop up,” Wong says. Advice Wong passes to potential small business owners is to “have a business plan!”

The Jar’s hours of operation are between 8 a.m. and 3:30 p.m. Monday–Saturday.

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