Written by Robin Wait.
Sometimes the best places are a little harder to find. And once you find them, you wonder why it took so long. You feel like you have made a kind of personal discovery, and you cherish it. My personal discovery is Lost & Found Cafe. Housed in an inconspicuous space on Hastings St., between Abbott and Carrall, wedged between the old Funky Winkerbeans and Army and Navy, Lost & Found is a true gem. You might miss it from the outside, but once you step inside, you will succumb to its charms, and find it difficult to leave. The simple slogan on the sign outside says it best: “Come for coffee; stay for lunch.”
Aesthetically, Lost and Found is the epitome of cool and funky. Despite its relatively small storefront, the space is immense: 2400 square feet of open space, high ceilings, wood floor, and an assortment of really cool lighting fixtures. It’s an eclectic mix of vintage and modern, the past and the present. There are tables in the front area, where one can eat, drink coffee and gaze out at the various happenings of Hastings Street. There are tables in the back area, where one can view a documentary film being shown on a huge screen on the back wall. In the middle, there are couches and comfier chairs, as well as bookshelves, housing old National Geographic magazines and an assortment of travel literature. The walls are tastefully decorated with some homemade collages, as well as paintings and photographs by local artists. Being a gallery, as well as a cafe, Lost and Found rotates the art on the walls, and all pieces are for sale. It only serves to enhance the community feel of the place.
“I love local art,” owner Kane Ryan tells me,”and it’s nice to have a showcase for different local artists.”
Ryan had spent the previous twelve years travelling the globe, most recently spending four years in a very poor village in India. As a result, Lost & Found is heavily inspired by travel and the experiences of the traveller.
He explains the name: “Whenever I travelled, it was never about what you are supposed to see. Some days you are lost in a back alley and you meet someone, or find an amazing cafe. It’s about the days when you are lost, and you find something.”
This “lost and found” ideology is found throughout the cafe: from its location to its name; from its design to its displays. But while it definitely has a global connection, Lost & Found maintains a local feel as well: the art on the walls, the coffee it serves (Republica, a Vancouver roaster), and its eclectic mix of customers.
From the beginning, Ryan wanted the space to be flexible and multi-purposed.
“We wanted a space that was more than a coffee shop – art shows, music events, fundraisers. We have the opportunity to give back to the community.”
The food at Lost & Found is best described as simple and delicious comfort food, with everything made in-house with fresh ingredients. They serve breakfast and lunch, with a small display case stuffed with house made baked goods The highlight for many is the Breakfast Bun, which tastes as good as it looks. It is basically a round, fluffy bun (made from Ryan’s grandmother’s dough recipe), filled with scrambled eggs, veggies and cheese (and ham if you so desire). It was soft, tasty and filling – a perfect little breakfast.
So whether you are looking for some good old coffee, some tasty treats, a hearty breakfast, a delicious lunch, or a place to chill and find yourself, Lost & Found has it all. The coffee is great, the food is amazing, the people are friendly, the prices are on point, and the space is big, eclectic and comfortable enough to demand a return visit. You don’t need to be lost to find it, but it wouldn’t hurt.