We wanted to make good use of the beautiful weather this past Saturday, so we took a walk down to Lost + Found Cafe, a new spot which opened recently at the bottom of the old Chelsea Inn, which hasn’t seen the light of day in almost a decade.
After three and half years backpacking in the slum community of Saki Naka in Mumbai, India, owner Kane Ryan was inspired to open a space that combines both his love of travel and photography — and the result couldn’t be more refreshing.
Kane is the founder of The Dirty Wall Project, a non-profit organization dedicated to help fill immediate, small needs in the developing countries. After traveling extensively for over ten years, Ryan was ready to set down some roots for himself and his foundation, and after just a few short months (and some help from his “army of supporters”) Lost + Found Cafe was born.
“We want to create a space that brings the world to Vancouver both through art, philanthropy and great food,” Kane says. “The food at Lost + Found is simple and fresh and all made in house daily. Every morning we bake fresh dough (my grandmother’s recipe) and turn it into cinnamon buns, sandwiches and an array of baked goods. Our cookies, brownies, dessert bars are made fresh every morning and go great with our fair-trade, locally roasted coffee from Republica Roasters in Fort Langley.”
The space is what Kane calls DWP’s “first real home,” and when you step into the nearly 2,400 sqft. room — you really do feel like you’ve stepped into someone’s (big) apartment. It has this great sit-and-stay vibe about it, and it definitely helps that Kane and Salomeh are so friendly and welcoming.
Plus, they have free refills and wifi… what more could you want?!
Okay, it’s time for the food. We’ve been hearing good things so far, and they were all true.
We ordered the BLT on a Spinach and Feta bun to share, which came with a choice of fruit salad or greens.
The chocolate brownie was great. Adrian doesn’t usually like brownies that much, but this had a really unique flavour to it. Hints of cinnamon or nutmeg were definitely there, and really enhanced it.
The cranberry lemon bar — OMG. Delicious. It had a crisp, almost shortbread-like base, with juicy, tart lemon, and sweet cranberries, topped with coconut flakes.
It wouldn’t be a normal day without some mug-shots from Jeremy. Hehe.
Mmm… we want everything. And at these prices, we just might next time.
We loved that a lot of the original details of the space were left intact. The furnishings and feel of the space is definitely hipster/shabby-chic, but it’s totally unpretentious, and feels perfect for the neighborhood.
The cafe has a beautiful area filled with handmade goods from India, Uganda, South Africa, Mexico and Cambodia, and all sourced from women’s groups, charities and NGO’s.
With all proceeds going to DWP, Ryan is continually looking for ways to help improve the lives of people less fortunate. “The money raised will benefit our current projects and families in India and give us the opportunity to begin helping locally right here in the downtown East side,” Kane says. ”With such a large space we want to start by giving other charities currently working in the area a venue to raise funds and awareness by holding events at Lost + Found.”
Kane says he also plans to host for profit events ranging from photography exhibitions and music nights a couple times a month. “The back half of the space will be a forever changing gallery for local artists to showcase their talent.”
Travel is a clear theme tied throughout the cafe. In this cozy little area, customers are invited to leave travel tips in the Red Binder.
The bar was made entirely from paint stir sticks. Totally engenius, and such inventive use of an otherwise useless material.
Dirty Wall Project has just published Kerosine Curry, a new book featuring recipes of traditional styles of cooking passed down through generations of Indian women. All proceeds of the book go directly to DWP, and more info can be found here.
We were lost, and now we’re found… ‘cause this is probably our favorite new cafe in the hood. The food is great, the atmosphere is lovely, and the service is super friendly.
We can’t wait to come back again soon.
XX – The Food Gays