What do you get when you mix opportunity with Montreal, Regina and a dog named Hank?
THE SMOKE CLEARS AND STARS ALIGN
Hank’s started with disaster. Francois Pilon’s restaurant Driftwood in Ucluelet, BC burned down from an electrical fire the evening of Friday the 13th, April 2012. At the same time, Clark Deutscher was wrapping up a another restaurant project.
“We decided to come together with a shared vision both believing strongly in making food accessible to everyone, without pretension,” commented Clark, co-owner of Hank’s. “[We bring] the best ingredients and support the local farming community on Vancouver Island. Ironically we now cook everything over fire…”
After overwhelming success in Ucluelet after opening in March 15, 2013 in a little blue house on Imperial Lane, Hank’s opened up shop in Victoria on November 3, 2013.
UNTRADITIONAL ARRIVES IN THE SOMEWHAT TRADITIONAL YYJ
This little 14-seat restaurant on Douglas Street has a goal to bring the best possible local products to everyone at an affordable price range, while staying as far away from fine dining as they can. At Hank’s, every part of every dish hits the smoker. This is where the “untraditional” comes in.
“We may not have baby back ribs in barbecue sauce, but at the same time, we DO have a custom-cut short loin rib with an IPA glaze or a pork belly rib with corn pancakes,” commented Clark. “We try to be inspired from cuisines around the world as almost every nationality cooks something over fire. We make everything from scratch with fresh island products including ketchup, mayonnaise, biscuits and fermenting kimchi and sauerkraut. As well, we try to change our menu every couple months to keep fresh seasonal options for our regular customers!”
Victoria is filled with different opportunities and inspiration, and Hank’s has a few businesses they choose to look up to and some they work with.
Spinnakers Gastro Brewpub (first brew pub in Canada), Trigo Foods (bringing fresh local products to restaurants every day), Gian Linuzzi from Two Rivers Meats (providing Hank’s with Island meats and specialty cuts), Prima Strada (for all of the community events they take part in), and great little restaurants like Fish Hook, The Cozy Place and the Korean Sushi Market.
Francois was born in Montreal and has cooked in some of the top restaurants on the West Coast. He has been cooking since he was in high school and has experience in many different types of food. Clark was born in Regina. He’s been competing in the BBQ competition scene for years and has been fortunate enough to have won a few awards in both Canada and the US. Hank is Clark’s dog, he was born in Winnipeg and he is a Cocker Spaniel crossed with a Pekingese. “He sleeps a lot nowadays.”
NEXT IN LINE
Hank’s doesn’t advertise. Instead, they count on the lingering smells wafting through downtown, the reliable word of mouth and cooking up their best at local events.
“Our favorite event of the year is Brewery and the Beast,” reflected Clark. “We had a great time and served many hundred our Puffed Pork Skins with Smoked Duck and Ale Pâté topped with house-cured Lamb Bacon and Maple Syrup. If you haven’t been, go. It’s a great event with wicked restaurants serving creative dishes and Phillips brews.”
This year Hank’s will be participating in the upcoming Car Free Day in Victoria on June 21, Category 12’s tasting room event on May 30 and a pop-up event at the Drake Eatery on Father’s Day with Four Winds and Category 12 breweries.