Brian Bobiak always wanted to bring another restaurant option to his home turf of Gordon Head.
At 32 years old, the restaurateur has done just that, bringing The Village restaurant to Feltham Village on Torquay Drive. The breakfast and lunch joint at 4077 Shelbourne St. is the third of The Village brand to open, and the second in Saanich. It was preceded by the original in Estevan, 2005, and Royal Oak in 2013 (4177 Saanich Rd.).
“This is my backyard, I’ve always had a dream to open up here, and now all the faces I remember coming in the market and some teachers from Lambrick Park are stopping in, it’s great,” said Bobiak.
The owner-operator is the face of the Saanich locations but credits Jason and Barry Chan for taking over the Estevan location and expanding with Bobiak into Royal Oak three years ago. As a pocket of Gordon Head, Feltham Village has its standard fares (fish and chips, fast food, pizza and a Starbucks, all which do well), but for a brunch or breakfast, you always had to head out of the ‘hood,’ Bobiak says.
Bobiak grew up a stone’s throw from the restaurant on Thelma Place, and the connections are still strong. The Village is actually growing food in the yard of a family neighbour, as well as at another Gordon Head property off Ash Road.
“Greens, kale, beets, snap peas and carrots, whatever we can grow is helpful as it takes a lot of square footage to grow for a restaurant,” Bobiak said.
It’s part of The Village’s drive for local food production, which they’re calling #VillageGrowShows. The plan is to create an infrastructure in which restaurant patrons set up and cultivate vegetable gardens The Village can source.
“Our focus is on sustainability, ethical and local sourcing, educating people about where their food comes from, and creating a movement towards real food, and away from factory and imported goods,” Bobiak said.
Fare wise, The Village features Jewish-inspired offerings such as shakshouka, potato latkes and blintzes, and most of it is gluten free. Eggs dominate the breakfast menu with burgers, soups and sandwiches at lunch time.
“We’re a lifestyle place, we close at 3 p.m. Our staff can go and live their life outside of work, and we like it that way,” Bobiak said.
From The Village’s patio you can see the iconic Mount Douglas Market, where Bobiak worked seven years “slicing meat,” starting with his days as a student at Lambrick Park secondary. Walk into The Village and the wall is panelled with coarse cedar for that warm, West Coast feeling. Inside, the restaurant seats 22, and the patio has nearly doubled capacity with 20 more.
“As long as it’s not raining, people will sit out there. It’s Victoria, they love the sun,” Bobiak said.
After high school Bobiak studied business at Camosun College then travelled to South America and Asia. He returned to work his way up from room service attendant at the Marriott Hotel to server and bartender. Eventually he jumped to the now-defunct Prime Steak House in the Magnolia Hotel, where he connected with Jason Chan, who had taken over The Village in Estevan. That connection led to Bobiak serving at the Estevan location for a year, buying in as a partner, and starting the Royal Oak location.
In Feltham, as in Royal Oak, it took a little while for the brunch scene to catch on, but it’s vibrant now. In March, The Food Network’s You Gotta Eat Here dubbed Victoria the brunch capital of Canada.