If you've eaten the famed nachos from the Foundation restaurant on Main Street, you've eaten a chip of the ol' Mount Pleasant block.
The hailed nacho platter is a mess of Que Pasa corn chips sprinkled with cheddar cheese, corn, jalapenos and black beans, all baked together in the oven. They're served on a platter the size of four faces. For a large, another layer of all the fixings is added on top and then it's baked again.
The platter's fame stems not only from its size, but also its price — $14 (taxes in) will feed up to four people. Tasty add-ons such as sour cream and salsa are free. Truly, for vegetarian nachos, the Foundation is top of the pile.
The chips get a lot of attention. Yelp reviewer Reena Mistry told the world the nachos were, "Definitely the best nachos I had in all of Vancouver." She gave them five stars.
When contacted by the Courier, Mistry said it must be some sort of special spice or sauce they add that makes her long for them. "It's just a deliciously unique flavour haven't found any other nacho in the city compare to."
Molly Beaton, a server and prep chef at the restaurant, says the secret is actually all about one simple thing: the cheese. "We put a lot of cheese. Nowhere else does that," she said.
Preparing to serve the hungry crowds takes up a large portion of the prep chefs' mornings. Beaton pointed out a large bin - prep chefs like her fill 20 of them with cheddar cheese and 13 with a combination of the other ingredients to prepare for the evening avalanche of nacho orders.
"At night, people just order nachos. The whole bill tray is filled."
And yes, the influx of orders gets overwhelming at times, which is part of the reason why the restaurant doesn't offer nachos until after 4 p.m. With only one chef and one server during the day, Beaton explained, "It'd be way too much if there were nachos."
Aside from the cheese, it's the chill nature of the place that keeps people coming back to the Foundation - or keeps others away. Atop the neon green walls are university-esqe quotes from Margaret Mead: "Never doubt that a small group of committed citizens can change the world," and others by George Orwell and the like.
But it's hard to find an online review that doesn't mention the, at times, slow service. Beaton explained that's just part of their vibe.
"Some people don't like the loud music and what's going on, how chill we are," she said. "We know the music is loud, but that's just our vibe. We want people to like the Foundation for that reason."
Thriving as they are, their approach seems to work just fine for this neighbourhood.