Monday, January 4, 2010

Sammy J Peppers - Great views and good food

At the gateway to Granville Island, a welcoming aroma of spice and steak wafts out from the doors to Sammy J Peppers. An unpretentious and friendly place, this restaurant offers warm and satisfying Western food, patio dining, a sports lounge with big screen TVs, and some pretty reasonable prices.

About the restaurant: A truly local establishment, Sammy J Peppers was founded in the Nineties by two men in Langley, half an hour or so out of Vancouver. Since then, it had enjoyed a respectable expansion into the rest of the Lower Mainland, even nailing an outlet on Granville Island, one of the trendiest areas of the city. The restaurants are well kept and clean, and seating is cozy and comfortable, if slightly snug! The staff is friendly and cheerful, always serving with a smile; they do have their hiccups, however, so don’t be too surprised if you need to ask for water once or twice.

All Sammy J’s have a lounge area along with several full screen LCD televisions that are visible from most of the restaurant. As such, it serves as a great place to have a few beers and watch Olympic events and other sports; be warned, however, that it can be a bit noisy. The Granville Island restaurant also has a heated patio area where you can look out over the waterfront and take in the beautiful sea views of False Creek. I think the atmosphere and attractive setting alone is worth a visit, especially if you are early enough to catch the setting sun.

The food: Like the name suggests, Sammy J Peppers has quite a bit of spicy food: aside from several Cajun inspired dishes, they have a wide variety of BBQ entrees like ribs, wings, and marinated steak (their honey bourbon BBQ sauce is excellent). However, most of the dishes are not overpoweringly spicy, and there are plenty of milder options for those of a more delicate palate; the variety of burgers, steaks and pizzas is very respectable, and the chicken dishes are quite exotic. There’s also a great selection of satisfying appetizers. The food quality is very good for the most part; the worst experience I’ve ever had was a slightly overdone burger. Other than that, the meat is juicy and flavourful, the sauces are hot and sweet without being overwhelming, and the veggies and seafood are fresh. If you enjoy a beer with your meal, I recommend washing things down with a locally-brewed Granville Island pale ale or lager.

My favourites: Bourbon BBQ Burger, Cajun Pacific Steak Sandwich, Seafood Linguine.

Cost: While the appetizers are slightly expensive ($10 per plate), the entrees are reasonably priced; with the exception of some of the steak dishes ($25 and more), most dishes won’t set you back more than 15-20 dollars per plate. While not as cheap as some of the fast-food or lower end options, the portions and quality make it well worth the price, along with the alcoholic beverages and lounge atmosphere. There is a $5 drink special every day of the week.

Take-out?: Not per se, but the wait staff are happy to bag up any leftovers you may have to take home.

Delivery?: None.

Licensed?: Yes. Beer and cocktails are available.

Location(s): Besides the entrance of Granville Island, there are several Sammy J’s in other parts of the Lower Mainland, such as Richmond, Burnaby and Surrey. Link to Google Maps.

Website and menus: Here.

Summary: If you’re looking for a warm and cozy place to watch the Olympic Games or take in the sea views with a beer and a plate of ribs, you’ve come to the right place. Sammy J Peppers has a little bit of something for everyone and is a great place for a taste of local flavour.

Sammy J. Peppers (Granville Island) on Urbanspoon


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