Farrar’s Bistro is an award-winning family-friendly restaurant nestled in the heart of the Felida neighborhood in Vancouver and is a smart choice for fresh, local comfort food with flair. The upbeat service and community feel among neighbors and out-of-town visitors enhance the positive vibe of this off-the-beaten-path hot spot.“We are community minded, and we deliver quality,” says owner Debbie Belden. “We sit in the beautiful community of Felida, and our patrons have become our friends.”
Belden’s community-mindedness, coupled with a helping heart that thrives on value-adding service, is what her business was built on. An entrepreneur since an early age, Belden says she felt inspired to start her bistro on a fishing trip in August 2007 with her friend Terry Farrar. Farrar, also the head chef in the early days, created many of the bistro’s signature recipes and was hugely instrumental in getting the business started.
“I just jumped in,” shares Belden after deciding to put her restaurant idea into action. “When I find myself wanting to do something, I just jump in 110%.”
Belden’s bistro began in an 800-square-foot section of the building she currently occupies located at 12514 NW 36th Avenue in Vancouver. There were several other businesses sharing the building at that time. Since 2007, Farrar’s Bistro has tripled in size. In 2013, she expanded to occupy the entire building. The remodeled decor has an upscale brewery feel complemented with original wood surfaces and accented with granite and metal siding. There is table and chair seating in the dining room and bar area, along with several tall, intimate booths. Outdoor seating is available and beautifully presented for guests. There is even a picnic area and an herb garden.
“My passion is feeding people,” reveals Belden. “And I love to cook.” Larry Shipman, lead cook, brings Belden’s ideas to life on the menu, while adding his own creations as well. “We all collaborate,” adds Belden, “because that gives you ownership in what you do. And it is important to have quality ingredients and fresh food, which is why we make everything from scratch, including all the rubs and sauces.”
“It’s the food your mom would make,” says Emma Fraser, restaurant manager. “It’s the meatloaf that mom would make, but you know you can’t make it like her, but Farrar’s can.”
Gifted with a pizza oven, Belden now makes delicious pizza to-go using the freshest ingredients and dough made on site. “We are always re-defining the bistro,” says Belden. “You can get your food and drink here for example, and then you can get a pizza to take home to your family.” Local brews are rotated, and Farrar’s Bistro features 11 taps. Along with pizza to-go, Farrar’s Bistro also offers catering services for a variety of events, including private parties, private events, and fundraisers throughout the Vancouver area.
Belden says she can do what she does because it is one of those “within things.” A young mother at age 16, she has always known hard work and is not afraid to roll up her sleeves. Her giving nature is also her way of giving back. “I have a heart for people, and it is important to give what has been given to me,” she shares.
And when it comes to following your dreams in life, Belden shares, it’s a “step of faith. And if you don’t take that step, how are you going to get anywhere?”
“I am thankful and grateful my doors are still open,” shares Belden, “and I am still able to serve people.”
12514 NW 36th Ave, Vancouver