There’s something that feels both sustainable and very Vancouver about a single space that houses two very different restaurants: one by day, another by night. Such is the case with Hunnybee Bruncheonette and Thank You Pizza, two concepts that share the same little corner of Chinatown. On the surface, they don’t seem to belong togethe—pizza and eggs? But both offer natural, local and hard-to-find wines and an atmosphere that encourages you to take your time.
Even if splitting the space was born out of necessity (I’m looking at you, real estate market), nothing here feels forced. The Hunnybee menu is short and sweet—nine items, the priciest one coming in at a hot $15. That’s the hash benedict, which I shared with my partner, along with the egg and avocado toast ($8) and sweet ricotta pancakes ($11). The hash benedict is a glorious mess—think currywurst meets benny meets hash.
This is a hearty plate, but sauces keep it bright: the curried ketchup and hollandaise mingle to create an intensely flavourful topping that’s umami-forward yet creamy and acidic. Once you get that poached yolk in there, you’ve got an unstoppable mix (and you’re also on the fast track to a mid-afternoon nap). My hashed veggies could have been crisper, but I was dousing everything in sauce anyway, so that’s easy to forgive. The accompanying sausage leaned German, rather than sage-y and breakfast-y. It rocked a mean snap, and was seasoned enough to eat solo. The egg and avocado toast (cue apologetic millennial shrug) is several levels up from your DIY weekday brekkie. Atop a monstrously thick slice of sourdough sits a pretty fanned avocado, a fried egg, pickled red onions, and a sprinkling of micro greens. The bread is the star of the show here: perfectly toasted with a punchy sourness, and featuring a brioche consistency that maintains its integrity even with the hefty pile of toppings. The avocado on mine was at peak ripeness, and the pickled red onion had a sharp bite that was only slightly dulled by the drippy yolk. It’s one of those dishes that seems oh-so-simple, but the quality and preparation make it sing.
The sweet ricotta pancakes were my favourite item here, and I’m not typically a sweet-breakfast person. (Give me eggs, bacon and hot sauce any day.) But the pancakes called, and I’m so happy I answered. Two giant, very fluffy flapjacks are topped with a seasonal jam, maple syrup and cultured cream. My jam was rhubarb, which, when paired with the cultured cream, turned into a tart, creamy situation reminiscent of a rhubarb custard pie.
But the winning bite for me was by far the plain ol’ hotcake with maple syrup. Sometimes you don’t need to mess with a classic.
When the sun goes down, the pizza oven fires up—from the back of a curbside truck—and Thank You Pizza is officially open. They sling elevated ’za with fun toppings that lean luxe but don’t deviate far enough from the classic combos to scare off any newbies. All of the natural wines and local beers available during the day at Hunnybee are still in rotation for the evening spread, and pair particularly well with Thank You’s produce-forward toppings. (They also stock cult faves like Scout and A Sunday in August.)
On my first trip to the evening-only pizza joint incarnation of the space, I tried the capocollo ($19) and vegan mushroom ($16) pies. A punchy tomato sauce acts as the base for the capocollo—it had the zing of summer-fresh tomatoes, with none of the metallic tang that often accompanies something tinned. The toppings are simple but bold: Napa cabbage and aged mozzarella melt together to create a funky, textured base for the crispy, charred hot capocollo. The sausage had just enough heat for spice enthusiasts without blowing out your palate, and the sprinkling of fresh dill added an element of freshness.
The vegan mushroom pie forgoes a traditional tomato sauce, and instead comes with an EVOO and garlic base. Topped with oyster mushrooms and frisée tossed in lemon and oil vinaigrette, my pizza felt light due to the brightness and greens—and I didn’t find myself missing cheese at all. The sourdough crust was just foldable enough to preserve the integrity of the heavy-duty toppings while still maintaining a chewy bite.
Either way you swing your visit to this two-in-one space at Union and Gore, you’re lined up to find good food and good vibes. Hunnybee and Thank You Pizza have each achieved something pretty great on their own, but the unexpected combo adds a buzzy layer of energy to the space.