Chewies Blackened Steelhead

How do you take your bivalves? Steamed, stewed, or nude? That’s the question Chewies Steam & Oyster Bar poses when you enter their world of fabulous oysters and Southern-inspired cuisine.

Chewies Coal Harbour-9

Newly-minted Chewies Coal Harbour has been open for nearly a month now, and last night was a chance for both media and local food-lovers to get their hands (and stomachs) on some of their menu items.

Chewies Coal Harbour-10

The interior is decidedly New Orleans-inspired, showing off a gorgeous sculpture made from repurposed instruments by a local artist as well as dark wood fixtures throughout. The former Miku space is about double the size of Chewies’ Kitsilano locale, with room for 120 diners (and in warmer weather, close to 100 on the outdoor patio).

Chewies Coal Harbour-2

The front of the restaurant features an open kitchen with leather banquettes off to the side. Diners can watch the oyster shucking action from the bar in back.

Owner Richard Chew wanted to create a space that’s at once comfortable with both the after-work and the fun-loving weekend crowd. The music is a great mix of rock and new wave tunes that prevents the drowning of both atmosphere and conversation. As with the Kits restaurant, when an oyster virgin samples their first bivalve, a big bell is rung.

Chewies Coal Harbour-13

While lots of Chew’s guests were enjoying Chewies’ Muddy Caesars (made with Sobieski vodka and garnished with a Cajun prawn), I was in seasonal ale mode, sipping at a Granville Island Brewing Lions Winter Ale while slurping away at some very fresh, meaty oysters from BC to New Brunswick.

There’s ample red, white, and bubbly wines to choose from as well as cocktails, draught and bottled beer.

Chewies Fried Gator and Hush Puppies
[Fried Gator and Hush Puppies]

Chewies Fried Oyster Po' Boy
[Fried Oyster Po’ Boy]

Dishes mirror the Kitsilano location, with favourites ranging from fried chicken ($18) with greens and buttermilk mashed potatoes (a best-seller) to fried oyster po’ boys ($16), served the classical way on a French baguette, with Cajun fries (or mixed greens). If oyster’s not your thing, there’s also fried chicken, blackened chicken, lobster, blackened Albacore tuna, and fried green tomato po’ boy versions, ranging from $16 to $23 (for the lobster version).

Chewies Fried Chicken
[Chewies Southern Fried Chicken]

Chewies Pork Belly Cracklin'
[Pork Belly Cracklin’]

Speaking of greens, I did notice a beautiful kale salad ($10) at the counter, heaped high and mixed with chickpeas, crispy capers, and garlic croutons in a lemon-garlic dressing.

Several seafood items on the Chewies menu are also Ocean Wise-sanctioned, keeping with a sustainable fishing ethic that fortunately many Lower Mainland establishments have caught on to.

Chewies Bourbon Bacon Bannofee
[Bourbon Bacon Bannofee]

This beautiful dessert also got my attention. It’s a Bourbon Bacon Bannofee ($8), with banana flambé and mascarpone cheese.


Other scrumptious dessert offerings are red velvet cake, pecan pie, Valrhona chocolate lava cake, and Café du Monde-style beignets (all desserts between $7 and $10). I’ve ordered those light, slightly-sweet beignets in the past: Save room for dessert.

R: Chewies' Owner Richard Chew
[R: Chewies’ Owner Richard Chew]

The staff are friendly and easy-going, dressed in grey, easy-to-covet “Steamed, Stewed or Nude” t-shirts, often humming along to the tunes (also noticeable in their Kitsilano space).

Chewies Coal Harbour Manager Charles Zuckermann
[Chewies Coal Harbour Manager Charles Zuckermann]

Head on over to Coal Harbour and enjoy some tasty dishes and when you meet friendly Manager Charles Zuckermann, tell ‘em I sent ya!

Chewies Coal Harbour-3

Chewies is located at 1055 West Hastings Street (and in Kitsilano at 2201 West 1st Avenue).

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