Chef's posh menu makeover doubles strip club's food sales
Amanda Wong, CTV British Columbia
Published Saturday, June 15, 2013 9:01AM PDT
Last Updated Thursday, July 11, 2013 8:43PM PDT
A Vancouver strip club that recruited award-winning chef Stuart Irving to revamp its less-than-mouth-watering menu earlier this year says food sales have more than doubled.
The No. 5 Orange debuted Irving’s new kitchen program on March 4, and less than four months later the Gastown gentleman’s club appears to have reversed the long-standing stigma about strip club cuisine.
“We’re selling a ton of food now. They were at a point of disrepair with the previous food menu, but there was an opportunity for improvement with food quality and customer experience,” Irving told CTV News.
Irving, who made his name at Vancouver eateries including Cobre Kitchen, Bin 931 and Wild Rice Restaurant, says liquor sales have also increased.
The new menu includes all locally sourced meats and breads, quality burgers, a few salads and a selection of gourmet hot dogs.
“I can honestly say this is the first time I’ve professionally cooked a hot dog,” Irving said.
Club manager Jeremy Rossier said the most popular item is the Philly cheese steak, but lunch and dinner patrons can also choose from items such as a German beerwurst Reuben dog with Montreal smoked meat, sauerkraut and hot mustard; dill pickle free-range chicken wings; a jumbo Italian sausage dog with pickled eggplant and hot peppers; pulled pork poutine; and a hearty Pittsburgh-style half pound burger and fry sandwich that comes with coleslaw, lettuce and tomato; quite a step up from “that frozen cheap stuff” Irving said they used to serve.
Rossier admits the previous menu left much to be desired.
“It was just pub food. It’s been the same for a long time now – there was not a lot of imagination before, but Stu brought that,” said Rossier.
But how did this all come about? Irving tells CTV News he used to take his staff from Cobre Kitchen to the strip club as a sort of mid-day reward, describing the No. 5 as being “a cozy home away from home.” He had gotten to know the staff at the No. 5 very well, so when Rossier asked him if he would be able to help with a new menu, he agreed, while he had time before his new restaurant Cuchillo opens – just half a block away.
Cuchillo will have Latin American inspired dishes, similar to the menu at now-closed Cobre Kitchen. “But more my personality, edgier,” said Irving.
The final touches on the restaurant are being made now and Irving says he wants to have the restaurant open for business by mid-June. When asked what to expect of Cuchillo, Irving says, “With evolution and transformation, continuing, growing…It’s going to be a success.”