Dock Lunch
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Par Collaborateur PJ

First a Home, then a Restaurant

Located on the ground floor of a 1912 apartment building, Dock Lunch is a hidden Mount Pleasant gem. Passersby often stop at the window, curious. Low, overflowing bookcases line the walls and an assortment of vintage bric-a-brac create a singularly charming setting. Dock Lunch is the sort of place you want to move into, put on your favourite records and settle in with a good book.

In this space, Dock Lunch owner Elizabeth Bryan cooked and hosted regular Sunday night dinners for her friends for 15 years. It was her apartment then. In 2014, she had to move out to make way for her dream of opening a restaurant. Though it’s no longer her home, the 16-seater café is “still a place for my friends to come and hang out and eat soul food and comfort food,” says Elizabeth. “Now it’s open to everyone who can take the time to leave the beaten path and find it.”

I’ve always loved food that told a story. - Elizabeth Bryan, owner
Dock Lunch
Long tables and small nooks are the perfect place for cozy and unhurried meals.

Food that Tells a Story

Dock Lunch is named after a prison ferry that was permanently docked at the Steilacoom in Washington State and converted into a lunch spot, where retired vets would eat greasy burgers, smoke and talk. It was a place that Elizabeth’s grandfather used to take her and her six siblings to during their summer visits from Victoria. “It was dirty and greasy and magic and wonderful. It smelled like men and smoke and salt from the sea,” Elizabeth remembers.

Her Dock Lunch is infused with a sense of history and nostalgia like those childhood memories. “I’ve always loved food that told a story, the menus that take you to another place. They have a lushness that doesn’t exist in the food alone; it’s wrapped up in scenery, music and family.” When you come to Dock Lunch, you’ll find “comfort food that tells a story. I was always drawn to stories of the south, and in my 20s, I started to explore foods of the south.” The west side of the café has an enviable collection of cookbooks, which reflects Elizabeth’s family roots in South Carolina as well as a real knowledge and love for food from around the world.

Dock Lunch

What’s for Lunch

Dock Lunch is primarily a lunch spot, but also offers dinner on Friday, and brunch on Saturday. Not only is Elizabeth the café’s owner and hostess, she’s also in the kitchen and walking around Mount Pleasant every morning, shopping for lunch.
It’s the weather, more than anything else, that inspires the menu, which changes daily. “When it’s cold and rainy and grey, I want slow braises, soups, stews, adobos; when it’s hot, I want salads; I tend to veer more toward south-east Asian cooking,” Elizabeth says. Some menu highlights include Goan curry with local halibut and meatball bahn mi sandwiches. There’s also dessert, which tends toward the food Elizabeth grew up on: think chess pie, banana pudding and caramel cake. The menu is posted on Dock Lunch’s Instagram account (@docklunch_offmain) daily.

Dock Lunch
The café is located in a Mount Pleasant building that is over 100 years old.
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