For years, it was known as the snack shack for the Burnaby Mountain Golf Course.
While the always busy Eagle Creek Restaurant was the perfect 19th hole for golfers to tell their tall tales, the "shack" beside the 10th tee was a spot to grab a quick sandwich and beverage before duffers yanked their next drive under another tree.
Well, no longer is that the case, as the Squint Lake Café was reborn in June. Sure, you can still get a quick snack at the turn, but general manager Joanne Rombouts and chef Tony Snelgrove have turned the cozy little spot into a family-friendly eatery that seats 50 people inside and 30 on the patio.
"This was an under-utilized part of our building," said Rombouts, who has been a fixture at the restaurant for 15 years. "We wanted to do something different here."
And different means having an affordable Friday and Saturday night family chicken feast. Running from 5 to 8 p.m., the family platter includes a succulent roast chicken for four, with all the fixings, including healthy steamed vegetables and some of the yummiest mashed potatoes in the city. And on Sunday, the Sunday breakfast brunch, which runs from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., is only $12 per person.
"If you have a family and want to eat affordably, this is the place," said Rombouts, a new mother herself. The café can also be used for smaller receptions, and come the colder months, it may be the best place to hang out, simply because of the intimacy it offers.
I was able to watch Snelgrove prepare the chicken - and the prime rib special that is on offer at Eagle Creek on Friday nights - and it's hard not to appreciate the attention to detail Snelgrove puts into his work.
While other chefs would pass the work down the line, Snelgrove, originally from the south of England, is doing all the work himself, from getting the chickens into the oven to slicing the peppers and zucchini. In between, he's working his magic on the mashed potatoes and making sure the Eagle Creek prime rib is primed for service.
"The gratification I get is from pleasing my customers. That doesn't ever change," said the soft-spoken Snelgrove. "You have to keep on doing your best and getting better with every meal."
Snelgrove oversees the kitchen for both restaurants. His consistency is what makes Rombouts' job easier.
"We're doing sandwiches, we're doing graband-go, we're doing meals for after your round," said Rombouts. "Tony does a great job of doing everything well."
Meanwhile, back to our chicken platter for four - our fourth is swimming and cancels late - three of us polish off the chicken. My older sister and brother-in-law are doing a good job on the vegetables and the bread, while I'm left to take on the mashed potatoes.
Snelgrove won't give up the secret to what makes his mashed potatoes so good - I'm thinking scads of whipped butter - but I don't need to know as long as he keeps on making it this yummy.
We finish the platter, but Rombouts said that's not always the case.
"We find this is usually more food than most people can eat in one sitting," she said.
The Squint Lake Café is at the Burnaby Mountain Golf Course at 7600 Halifax St. For more information, call 604-421-8355.