“How do you spell rhubarb?”
Well, I have to admit that’s the most unusual greeting I have ever had upon entering a restaurant, but this place is, after all, located in the funky, offbeat community of Cumberland, where the local barber shop also serves as home to Harley Davidson motorcycles. So, were we surprised when we ventured in to Mar’s on Main? Not really – amused might be a better word.
The ‘welcome’, it turns out, was the result of Mar’s owner Marlene Hamilton and one of her staff members working on a new menu item that featured in-season fresh produce. They wanted to get it right, which pretty much goes hand-in-hand with their attitude about everything they do in this charmingly friendly new addition to the dining scene in Cumberland.
Mar’s on Main opened in the autumn of 2012 in a beautiful heritage home built in 1896. Located on Dunsmuir, which is Cumberland’s ‘main’ street, the place has enjoyed considerable popularity with locals and the many cyclists who invade the tiny community on a regular basis. The house has been beautifully restored and retains many of its original features, adding a bit of elegance to the casual atmosphere.
Mar’s doesn’t put on airs – there is no hint that they aspire to be a ‘fine dining’ destination. What they do, though, is serve up a menu with lots of interesting options, in plentiful portions, with friendly service in really nice surroundings – at reasonable prices.
During our initial visit to Mar’s my husband enjoyed the Artisan Tuscan Chicken Sandwich. Served with a generous portion of hand-cut French fries and featuring roasted chicken, roasted tomato, asiago cheese, spinach and pesto, the sandwich was a feast for the eyes as well as the stomach. I ordered the Veggie Spanakopita, which featured a flavourful combination of yam coins, roasted tomato, spinach and feta cheese. Two liberal portions of the spanakopita were accompanied by a fresh salad, a large serving of tzatziki and a flavourful red pepper coulis. Despite the late hour – lunch at 3 p.m. is not the norm for us – I couldn’t come close to getting through all that excellent food.
Mar’s on Main takes pride in making everything ‘from scratch’. Their breakfast offerings are varied, ranging from grilled polenta with eggs to six variations on eggs Benedict. There are kid-friendly offerings, gluten-free offerings and, if you just want a good ol’ steak or pasta, you can get that too. Saturday nights there is live music, and there is limited outdoor seating if you want to enjoy some fresh air and the street scene with your meal. Over-all, a happy addition to the list of newer Island restaurants, especially if you are in the mood for a classy-but-relaxed setting, interesting food and friendly service.
Mar’s on Main is located at 2744 Dunsmuir Avenue, Cumberland. The restaurant does not have a website, but menus can be viewed in the ‘photos’ section on their Facebook page.
Price rating: $ – $$
Lat. 49.6191645 Long. -125.02724647521972
N 49 37.150 W 125 01.629