One of the Comox Valley’s newest restaurants, the Social Room is already creating a buzz in the community.
The restaurant is unrecognizable from its former life as a cafe (146 Port Augusta Street in Comox, formerly Twisted Dishes); with low lighting, comfortable seating, a long bar made from salvaged local wood and a screen playing videos of Bob Ross, the space invites good conversation with the promise of good food and drinks.
The Social Room just does things differently, says co-owner and restauranteur Jason Pope. The menu, combining local ingredients with authentic, ethnic flavours, is proof.
“Hamburger and french fries are the number one selling food in North America and I asked myself, am I losing my mind by not doing it?” he said. “This is my first restaurant in 28 years that I don’t have ketchup.”
The Social Room’s menu features dishes from the Caribbean, Europe, Asia and the Middle East with new plates added every couple of months.
Pope said their food is all fresh and made from scratch with the exception of their cheese and flatbread, adding that they try to buy local produce and proteins as much as possible.
“I bet your freezer is bigger than ours,” he laughs.
The plates are all small and meant for sharing – something that Pope says is meant to bolster the social atmosphere of the restaurant.
“We want to go back to socializing and trying new things, trying different small plates, sharing and putting the phones away,” he said. “Just talking to your neighbours and getting to know each other and enjoying good quality food and drink at a reasonable price.”
But aside from their global tapas, the Social Room’s specialty is their drink menu, featuring classic and coupe cocktails.
“There’s all this focus on beer and it kind of left the cocktail behind,” he said, emphasizing that they always use quality spirits for the highest quality drinks.
The Social Room is open from 5 p.m. to midnight Wednesday to Sunday – something else that is not common in Comox. Pope said he was originally warned about keeping the restaurant open late.
“Everybody always says that I was nuts to be open until midnight,” said Pope. “I asked them, ‘is it because we trained the public that there’s nowhere to go?’ And we’re busy up until midnight most nights. Obviously, there has been this desire.”
Every few weeks, the Social Room will have live music, but Pope also hopes to host events.
“We’re not a big room so we can be very intimate. So we want to do things like the full moon party or masquerades and Halloween parties… just to bring the fun back.”
The Social Room officially opened on July 18 and has gotten positive reviews from the community. The restaurant’s grand opening will be held at the end of September.