Profiles of Excellence: Paddlewheeler Pub

Great food, great atmosphere, great people – and all in an iconic and beautiful location.

That’s what has helped make the Paddlewheeler Pub a community favourite for more than three decades.

Such longevity is rare in this industry. Marco Lucarino, assistant general manager at the pub, puts their success down to this special combination of factors that have given them a unique place in the Royal City.

“The Paddlewheeler really is a landmark, being in business for 33 years,” he said.

It first opened as part of the original Westminster Quay Public Market back in 1986 and still enjoys being part of the ever-changing Quay community while growing and evolving.

“We continue to create friendships and build community presence. We have a from-scratch traditional pub menu with a unique take on classic dishes and our newly renovated space really has a warm vibe and a welcoming feel.”

He says the dedicated staff and the customers – both loyal long-time visitors and new ones – make the pub a special place.

“One of the things I really love about the Paddlewheeler is the staff. We are all very close and it resembles a family business to me. It’s a place that I can experiment, learn, and continue to grow,” he said. “We have a ton of long term staff. Our longest would be Gail Saunders at 30-plus years. She is the heart of the Paddlewheeler. Most of our servers have been here for four-plus years and we are all very tight as a team.”

But even the best staff can’t make a business a success without the people who come through the door.

“And our customers are the best. You can often find our regular patrons sitting at the bar or at a table enjoying each other’s company. I think we’ve had a great reception in the community.” The pub isn’t just a great place for a casual get-together over drinks or for a great meal; it’s also an ideal spot for local events.

“We’ve hosted naloxone trainings, Santa breakfasts, and charitable events,” he said, noting they also are a favourite for holiday celebrations for other local businesses and groups. The city has been an ideal home for the Paddlewheeler all these years and Lucarino says they’re excited to see what the future will bring.

“I love New Westminster for its charming vibes,” he said. “To me it resembles a big city without the bad parts. It’s continuously growing and reaching new peaks. The community here is incredible.”

As for the Paddlewheeler itself, some unique changes are on the way.

“We have a few special projects in the works. We will be working on a social lounge, better games room, and some patio improvements,” he said. “And we will be launching a brand new happy hour, new menu items and I’m excited for unique custom cocktails that you won’t find anywhere else.”

At the end of the day, it’s about doing a great job for each customer and taking pride in that effort.

“Excellence to me is a happy customer and, just as importantly, a happy employee.”

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© New West Record