Best Casual Chain 2010

Gold: Cactus Club Cafe

Silver: Memphis Blues
Bronze: Joey Restaurants
Honourable Mention: Earls
Honourable Mention: Rocky Mountain Flatbread Co

No chain delivered more in ’09 than the still effervescing Cactus Club (Gold). Alongside signature Feenie dishes like BBQ duck clubhouse and soy-marinated sablefish were interesting newcomers like hunter chicken with wild mushroom. (Coming next: a Club-branded stand at English Bay.) Consistency can be a chain’s weakest link, but steadfastness has forged success for the five locations of Memphis Blues (Silver). There’s no disputing George Siu and Park Heffelfinger’s mastery of all things meat or their evangelism for pulled pork that’s soft like buttah. Joey (Bronze) has come on strong this year with new concepts like spinoff burger’n’brew joint Local. Honourable Mentions: Earl’s upped the ante in Yaletown with the splashy, cocktail-friendly V Lounge. Meanwhile, Daddy Daycare meets Food Revolution at Rocky Mountain: yes to the free-range food; beware the free-range rugrats.