Feed your soul while munching on tasty treats from Lost + Found Cafe
After a stint in India illuminated the difference one can make to improve the lives of others, Kane Ryan opened Vancouver's Lost + Found Cafe to benefit the less fortunate everywhere
I unabashedly tear into one of my favourite Saturday morning breakfast combos: a cinnamon bun and a cup of local Republica Roasters coffee, while my friend slurps a Masala Chai.
It’s a late Saturday morning and we are checking out the Lost + Found Café. We observe passersby outside stroll past, then make a split second decision to come in. “Welcome to Lost + Found, thanks for coming in”, owner Kane Ryan, hollers from the till.
The café’s only been open a few short weeks and has already gained some regulars; it’s clear why after Ryan took some time out to sit with us and offer advice on our own upcoming travel adventures and share a bit of his story.
Lost + Found - From India to Vancouver's Downtown Eastside
Lost + Found Cafe has been a labour of love since Ryan landed back home in BC just a little over five months ago. He'd spent the last 3.5 years devoting his time to Saki Naka, a slum dwelling in Mumbai, India, and it was there, on a solo backpacking trip, that he saw how much good could come from a small amount of money and a lending hand.
From that experience, Ryan created Dirty Wall Project, a non-profit organization that provides outreach services to impoverished families while creating a community among neighbours. (For a dose of inspiration, check out the DWP blog).
Located along the strip of West Hastings' newest eateries, and just a couple doors down from the popular Save-on-Meats, Ryan found prime location to serve as a multi-purpose headquarters for Dirty Wall Project.
It's a social enterprise model: a cafe with an internationally influenced menu (everything is made in-house, even the dough), a charity section to sell wares sourced from women’s groups, charities and NGOs from places like India, Uganda and Mexico, and a community space that encourages patrons to linger and get to know one another. Revenue generated from the charity section go right back to funding DWP initiatives.
Art, Coffee and Healthy Fare
Ryan and an army of his supporters transformed the historic Chelsea Inn, which lay vacant for nearly a decade, into what is now an inviting space filled with inspiration for wannabe world travellers. Resourceful and clever, the team created the decor and furnishings out of surprising materials - the counter panelling is made out of paint stir sticks. Thanks Cloverdale Paint!
The indecisive won’t know where to sit with something to look at and read in every nook and cranny. The walls are covered with artwork, photo collages and even an eight-foot projector wall showing world documentaries. The back of the room holds a semi-private meeting space, and better still, Kane hopes to offer the café up as an event space for local NGOs to host fundraisers.
The menu, scrawled on a recycled paned glass window, is filled with healthy fare: arugula topped with roasted beets, sunflower seeds, roasted pecans, pea shoots and feta cheese with herb-vinaigrette dressing; daily soups like curried yam soup with coconut milk and chicken sandwiches on fresh-baked spinach, feta and parmesan swirl buns. They’ve even worked out some tempting vegan treats that anyone would find hard to pass up. They had me at cinnamon buns.
33 West Hastings St., Vancouver, BC.
Hours: Mon - Fri: 9:00 am - 6:00 pm Sat - Sun: 10:00 am - 5:00 pm