Introducing the Vancouver Magazine Restaurant Awards Hall of Fame

Industry icon Cactus is sponsoring a brand-new awards category starting in 2024.

Here’s a peek behind the curtain: the hardest part of running the Restaurant Awards isn’t organizing the judging panel, working with the accountants to tabulate the results, setting editorial deadlines or even editing the magazine. It’s coming up with another way to say that the Cactus Club Cafe won gold in Best Chain—again.

But hey, we’ve done our best. In 2023, our Best Chain category write-up reasoned, “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.” Two years ago, we claimed “the restaurant is an institution at this point.” Back in 2015, our judges called Cactus “head and shoulders above” the other restaurants in the Best Chain category, and almost a decade and a half ago, we said “no chain delivered more in ’09 than the still effervescing Cactus.”

Since Cactus was founded in 1988 (the restaurant is one year older than our Restaurant Awards), it’s become a star of the city’s casual fine dining scene—the sort of place you can go for a date night, but also grab a beer at post-rec hockey game.

So you may have been surprised when Cactus wasn’t included on our 2024 Restaurant Awards finalist list.  After three decades of wins, Cactus decided to step back from the running in 2024: they’re graciously making space for other restaurants to compete for the title of “Best Chain.”

To celebrate the idea of legacy, Vanmag and Cactus have collaboratively created our new Restaurant Awards Hall of Fame. This Hall of Fame celebrates individuals and organizations that have demonstrated consistent leadership and excellence in the culinary industry, and have made a long-lasting impact on the way we eat in Vancouver.

Spoiler alert: the 2024 Restaurant Awards will celebrate Cactus as our inaugural inductee into the Hall of Fame. Two more winners—one individual and one organization—will be announced at our May 6 awards ceremony.

President Andrew Latchford and Executive Chef of Culinary Development Gregory McCallum of the Cactus Club Cafe accept the 2023 Vanmag Restaurant Award for Best Chain, with Royce Chwin of Destination Vancouver (right).

“Over the years, we’ve worked extremely hard to deliver outstanding hospitality and to earn our collection of Best Chain gold wins,” says Andrew Latchford, the president of Cactus Club Cafe. “We are proud of what we’ve achieved, will continue to strive for excellence and are looking forward to seeing who takes gold this year.”

In addition to their sponsorship of the Hall of Fame, Cactus will be presenting our Best New Restaurant award at the ceremony on May 6.

See you at the awards—get your tickets now.