- BC Games
Station: Beers with Liz Steward
A refreshing local pint, the ‘almost-famous’ Greek caesar salad, one of Liz’s famous hugs — there’s probably more than one reason you’ve stopped by the Craig Street Brew Pub or Just Jake’s in downtown Duncan.
Liz Steward is the co-owner (alongside husband Lance) of one of the valley’s favourite restaurants. Now with another location in Lake Cowichan (Jake’s on the Lake), and two teenage daughters, Liz is one busy lady.
This month we sat down with Liz to find out what she loves about Cowichan, why she chose to live here, and the one major ‘to-do’ on her bucket list.
Name: Liz Steward
How long have you lived in Cowichan? 22 years.
What brought you to the Cowichan Valley and what keeps you here?
We came up here to open Jake’s. We were working with the Colemans and they were the ones who said to come open a restaurant in Duncan. Being in business is what keeps us here too.
What is your claim to fame?
Probably the hugging! Also the restaurant — the food of course, and, more recently, the beer.
What’s your favourite comfort food? Meat and potatoes! I always go back to that.
What is your favourite item on your own menu?
A simply grilled steak and garlic mashed potatoes with a good portion of vegetables. I always keep it simple.
What is your current passion?
Right now it’s probably quality of service. It’s something I’ve really been working hard on lately. I’m a real karma believer and I think what you put out there comes back to you. I’m working on teaching that to my staff. I just want to make Cowichan an even nicer place to be.
What’s on your bucket list?
My bucket list would be to take a ‘real’ holiday. I’ve only had two holidays since we opened 22 years ago. I’d like to go travelling in Europe and to Australia. For me it’s about travel and food and wine and family.
What is your favourite Cowichan memory?
I had my kids here and the beautiful thing about having kids is how many people it connects you with. It’s made me really be in touch with what’s going on here and has opened my eyes to that.
What does the future hold for you and the restaurant?
Constant change and adaption to what’s going on in the market is important. We always have to stay fresh and stay new. We still have hopes and aspirations to have a brewery — bottling and kegging with the same recipes we use here.
How do you relax and unwind?
My favourite thing to do is visit with friends and have dinner together. I also walk every day with my dog, which is a very good stress release!
What advice do you have for new business owners or people opening a restaurant?
Know that it’s going to take a while and be very patient. You have to go into (business) with a really broad mind and realize you have to sacrifice yourself for your customers and staff and then with time, it comes back. Know that it’s going to take a while. Be patient.
— by Eliza Faulkner