Slightly off the beaten path in Burnaby is a warehouse space converted in quite possibly one of the most beautiful conversion-space cafés in Greater Vancouver.

When you’re on the La Forêt turf you can expect your insides to thank you, over, and over, and over, again. Only five-years-young, this café has just opened a second location in time for Spring.

 

 

Sipping on a Spanish Latte, Cody Shim, 24, sat down to fill me in on what makes La Forêt (translated: The Forest, in French) customers line up, for the cafés elevated menu from day one. The funny thing is, La Forêt is not a French café, it started as a single-family Korean owned business.

 

 

Cody has been with the family-run business (mum, dad and their two children) for four years, “It was basically surviving over the weekend, we were too busy,” certainly not a bad problem. The family initially struggled with having everything set up as a proper company, some minor details take a second seat in a lot of family operated businesses, when in actuality keeping organized is the key to proper growth.

 

 

“Not having fully prepared staff was tough, especially on the scale of this place.” Cody wasn’t always an accountant though, he was working for Air Canada in baggage in his early years right out of high school into University; one faithful night Cody was at a friends house who was hosting a Korean employee at La Forêt. Cody applied and was on floor shortly after starting a position on cash, “I want to say it worked out whenever I had a problem, it was fantastic to work here,” Cody’s tone was appreciative. Over a short amount of time, Cody was able to purchase a modest (Korean) car with his salary from the café, cutting his two-hour commute to work in half. His role developed within the company and he is all hands on deck when it comes to helping the family with their new location, La Forêt Royal Oak.

 

 

I was already familiar to their soft black squid ink bread and squid ink parmesan croissants, which regularly found themselves in my car every time I ventured into Burnaby. Pastries are packaged in clear baggies and cakes in nice boxes, a perfect gift alternative to a bottle of wine. La Forêt has a secret butter ratio for their croissants that match them in my personal croissant ranking chart, up there with Cadeaux Bakery.

 

 

This weekend the cafés second location opened right behind Royal Oak Station on Palm Street (about a 5 minute walk from La Forêt Jubilee). The new location offers a very partial menu of the same devious food as Jubilee, but for takeaway, mixed with many new offerings like ice cream, hot dogs and toast, all items for a hearty breakfast; although the same size as Jubilee, the primary use of the new space is a factory production for both cafés. La Forêt Royal Oak does not have seating but is a short walk from nearby parks to enjoy one of their new soft crème doughnuts – or two or three.

Catering and wholesale options are not fully available but it’s surely in the plans, so for those schools waiting for their 400 waffles, let’s hold off for the moment.

 

 

There are about 55 staff at the Jubilee café, baristas, pastry chefs, bakers, cooks, dishwashers, managers and owners. The potential the café offers the “Canadian Dream” (not just for Korean’s living in Vancouver) but all ethnicities.

 

 

Although La Forêt Royal Oak is a grab-and-go, Jubilee is there for breakfast, brunch, lunch and dinner! Seven different platters, croissant sandwiches, pastas (rigatoni for the morning and fettuccini for the evening), noodles, soups, salads and more. Dig into Korean flavors like their Bulgogi Platter (marinated beef), fried chicken and any of their spicy items (with a special Korean hot sauce). La Forêt is known well for beautiful cakes, elegant pastries and delicious baked goods, this goes without the café’s lucky-8 team of bakers who start at 4pm baking fresh every day. This isn’t the place for left overs or day-old deals, so better come in earlier before your favourites are gone for the day.

 

 

“If you haven’t visited this place, come at least once. There isn’t another place like it in Vancouver,” Cody is right spot-on.

 

La Forêt Royal Oak: Monday – Friday 10:30am to 6:30pm.  6958 Palm Avenue, Burnaby.

La Forêt Jubilee: Monday – Friday 8am to 10pm  & Sat/Sunday 9:00am to 10:00pm.   6848 Jubilee Avenue, Burnaby.

 

 

Nina @Fueler

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