There are more changes than just a fresh new look coming to Lynn Valley’s beloved breakfast spot – Tommy’s Cafe. New owners have plans to keep what makes patrons come back week after week while adding a more diverse menu and evening hours. Longtime manager Sara McDonnell is excited about the future.
The new and the same
There is a dramatic new bar as you enter Tommy’s Cafe. The dark new centrepiece bar, complete with keg taps, is balanced with a series of colourful murals circling the seating area.
Perched on a stool, proudly looking at some of the updates, McDonnell is excited by the plans to come.
“It’s a new year, new us!” she said. “This is a bit of an experiment but we want to be sustainable in this community. If we could be around for another 30 years – I would love it.”
She says the new owners recognize Tommy’s is what it is and that its fundamental relationship with its clients can’t change.
“Lynn Valley needs a spot that is like a second home, somewhere the feels safe to hang out and spend time with friends,” says McDonnell. “We have been around a long time and don’t want to change what makes Tommy’s a favourite place but we wanted to take the success of brunch and create a similar energy for the evening.”
Starting mid to late February, there are plans to extend Tommy’s hours until 9 pm with the possibility of longer hours if customers want it.
“I think having more options to do things in the neighbourhood is a good thing,” said McDonnell. “I don’t want to head downtown after work, I want to hang out here in Lynn Valley.”
The new owners, Bhupinder Sing, Manish Gusain and Himanshu, are building on their success of a Robson Street restaurant.
Dinner hours and theme nights
There has been a good effort to learn about Lynn Valley and Tommy’s place within it.
“I have a lot of hope, said McDonnell. “The brothers have listened and understood that Tommy’s is a unique beast and this is a unique town. We want to remember that it was this community that has made Tommy’s.”
Looking to creatively extend their hours with both an updated menu and entertainment options McDonnell is hoping to create an atmosphere where people gather to hang out and build community with familiar faces.
“The changes aren’t just more food options,” she said. “I would like to have a few games, trivia nights, a small space for an acoustic set. I hope that live events will be a big thing. Lynn Valley needs space for more artists and musicians.”
The new owners are also doubling down on making its evolution family-friendly by offering a kids’ menu and a more inclusive menu to suit the full scope of dietary needs and desires.
“We are playing with the idea of having an all-day breakfast – that is why people love Tommy’s,” she said. “We want customers to communicate with us. Are we going in a direction they want? Is the new menu working? We know Lynn Valley wants good food.”
McDonnell hopes they are offering Tommy’s a bright future but promises it will remain the place Lynn Valley loves.
“We aren’t going to change the independent and creative vibe. We want it to be a cool, cozy, fun place.”