Our Story

Market Before

Market After

Just two of us built over 90% of Finch’s with our own hands, from demo through design & running them when we first opened.

There are several reasons for the design choices. First, they are heritage buildings, so the vintage style is in keeping with the building. Use of materials like salvaged old-growth wood is because the age makes tighter wood grain, which is more durable. Using antique coolers, ovens, scales, and other machines isn’t to be cute…it’s because people could build machines that worked for over fifty years…which is in keeping with circular economics. Circular economics is making the most out of the resources we use, thinking through the end of use and materials, and creating as little waste as possible…essentially what hippies have done forever,  and how Finch’s was planned. People say both Finch’s feel authentically old, but this is just because we build like Grandpa, same materials and techniques. All the antiques are from decades of yard sales, the buy & sell, craigslist, and everyone has a story. I like antiques because they work and don’t break for decades, which is why the shop is full of working antiques. My fridge at home is from the 1930s, which was the first-decade fridge’s existed… and still uses all the original mechanical guts…a new compressor every few decades and it’s fine. It also uses less energy than a modern fridge (modern fridges use a lot of energy making them ‘frost free’). The tool that cuts the compostable butcher’s paper for your sandwiches is from the 1800s. Love that tool so much.

So glad Finch’s seems to make people happy. To me, it’s like a little bit of the gulf islands in the middle of the city. 

Finch’s was never the plan, it was spontaneous. We were running a record store in the downtown building (yep..vinyl), I was teaching (yep, regular school), and we were both performers (him music, myself, technical juggler) (yes that’s a thing)…and the landlord offered us the corner space (which was trashed) with reasonable rent (because it was trashed). So  Finch’s was meant to be a side hustle…and then…surprise…we immediately had twins!  Hurrah. 

The arrival of the finch twins has made me grateful ever since to have an honest way to make a  living where I could organize my time to be full-time with my kids and have full-time work. I’ve run Finch’s since we opened in 2004, and the attention to detail reflects my desire to look after my family who I like a lot. In return I’ve tried to make spaces Vancouver can be comfortable in and proud of. 

Finch’s was inspired by the best sandwich I ever ate…in Paris. From a little nondescript shop… where I got a baguette with cheese, lettuce, tomato, and onion…that was one of the best things  I’ve ever eaten. So simple. Point was, every ingredient was fresh & great quality. 

Our staff are mostly artists (who else would make your food look like that?), and Finch’s offers a stepping stone on their way to larger dreams. Every time you tip it’s like making a donation to support local musicians, graphic artists, dancers, writers, and students…it’s not easy for the people who run our restaurants and cafes to afford to live in Vancouver and what you toss in the tip jar is really appreciated. 

A few things I learned building Finch’s…people like symmetry and when design elements are compatible. You can treat something as big as a reno as one giant art project. End of the day,  the people and relationships are the most satisfying part.