About

Our Story

Located at the corner of Railway and Dunlevy in the historic Railtown District of Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside, Railtown Cafe has been serving healthy and delicious food since the summer of 2012. Launched by Vancouver chefs Dan Olson and Tyler Day — who own and operate the award-winning Railtown Catering out of the same facility — we foster a fun and friendly environment with a true sense of community for staff and customers alike.

Fresh is what we do best, offering heaping portions of healthy comfort food prepared from scratch daily by our talented team of classically trained chefs. Made using only the best local and organic ingredients, we offer artisan bread loaves, soups, pastries, made-to-order gourmet sandwiches and a build-your-own salad bar unlike anywhere else in the city, along with house-made ice cream available by the jar and cone, locally roasted coffee, cold-pressed juices and a range of local craft beer, wine and spirits.

The Team

Dan Olson

Executive Chef/Partner

Born and raised in Vancouver, Chef Dan Olson sparked an abiding passion for food and wine during stints at the Century Grill Restaurant and Bacchus Restaurant at The Wedgewood Hotel, where he earned the coveted role of Apprentice under Chef Robert Sulatycky for the Bocuse d’Or, helping Canada record a best-ever fourth-place finish at the prestigious world chef championship in 1999 before embarking on an extensive culinary walkabout and honing his craft in top-tier kitchens throughout the world.

Dan comes by his classical French techniques honestly, having worked under Chef Guy Lassausaie at his eponymous Michelin-starred restaurant in Lyon and Chef Yannick Alleno at the Michelin-starred restaurant Les Muses at the Hotel Scribe in Paris. Olson returned from his overseas sojourn in 2002 and cheffed for Four Seasons Resorts and Hotels in Chicago, Whistler, Dallas, Cairo, Bahamas, Washington, D.C., Toronto and Jackson Hole before settling in California in 2006, where he worked as Senior Sous Chef and Executive Sous Chef at the Mobil Five-Star- and AAA Five-Diamond-award winning Beverly Hills Hotel before taking on the role of Executive Chef at the iconic Hotel Bel Air in Los Angeles in 2009.

Dan returned to both his Vancouver and Bocuse d’Or roots in 2012, founding Railtown Catering and Cafe with Chef Tyler Day and using the Downtown Eastside facility as a test kitchen to help coach the Canadian team to a top-ten finish among a field of 24 countries at the 2013 edition of the Bocuse d’Or competition in Lyon, France.

Tyler Day

Chef/Partner

Tyler Day’s interest in the culinary world was cultivated at an early age. From time spent picking wild blackberries to make pie with his grandmother, foraging for mushrooms or embarking on weekend fishing trips with his dad, Day quickly learned to appreciate fine food in all its freshest forms.

After graduating from the prestigious Dubrulle Culinary Arts School in Vancouver, Tyler travelled to Oxfordshire, England, where he studied under renowned Chef Raymond Blanc at the Michelin star hotel-restaurant Le Manoir aux Quat’Saisons. Tyler then ventured to the Big Apple, working at Michelin star seafood restaurant Oceana in Manhattan before returning to Vancouver and serving as sous chef in such acclaimed, award-winning kitchens as Bistro Pastis, Diva at the Met and CinCin Ristorante + Bar as well as Restaurant Chef at Pearl Bistro & Oyster Bar in White Rock.

In 2012, with 15 years of experience in the kitchen already under his belt, Tyler embarked on a new challenge by partnering with Chef Dan Olson in Railtown Catering and Cafe and has since focused his career on the company’s continued success.

“I’ve dedicated my life to working and playing in the kitchen,” says Tyler. “It’s a window into ancient traditions, modern culture and a perfect way to spend time with family and friends. It’s always been my dream to start a business that offers food that is both healthy and delectable with an environmentally conscious approach, and at Railtown that dream has taken shape.”

Alex Abley

Pastry Chef

After graduating with honours from the Culinary Management program at Fanshawe College in London, Ont. and apprenticing in a local wedding-cake bakery, Alex Abley took on the role of Head Pastry Chef at French restaurants Decca 77 and Le Newtown in Montreal before coming to Vancouver and sharpening his skills for three years under celebrated fourth-generation patissier and chocolatier Thomas Haas.

As Railtown Pastry Chef, Alex oversees a team of four cooks in one of the fastest-growing sectors of the business and is responsible for the production scheduling and recipe creation for all of Railtown Catering and Cafe’s pastries and desserts as well as the in-house fresh bread program. Alex also boasts a background in visual arts, which helped him develop a keen eye for balance, form, composition and colour and allows him to infuse each of his menu creations with a delicately delicious finesse as pleasing to the eye as it is to the palate.

“Presentation is the key,” says Alex. “Looking down at a plate and realizing that you’ve created something that not only tastes good but looks beautiful as well is what I strive for. And the diversity of the items that we make at Railtown — everything from plated desserts to a wide assortment of sweet and savoury canapés to rustic, homestyle breads — means that neither myself nor my team is ever bored. There’s always something new to pique our interest.”

Paden Boardman

General Manager

Originally from B.C.’s picturesque East Kootenay region, Paden settled in Vancouver to obtain an Advanced Degree in Game Art and Computer Design, but it was his affinity for the kitchen and extensive experience with front-of-house management roles that made him an ideal fit for Railtown Cafe since joining the company in 2014.

Paden began his career in the hospitality industry as a barista and cook at various cafes, eateries and restaurants throughout the province, including a five-year stint with Starbucks before landing work locally as a visual effects coordinator and game designer. When an opportunity to manage Railtown’s bustling and popular cafe in the heart of the historic Downtown Eastside presented itself, Paden jumped at the opportunity and has since proven himself an integral player in the Railtown success story.

In his capacity as General Manager, Paden not only oversees the daily operations of the restaurant, including scheduling, inventory and customer satisfaction, but also put his background in the computer industry to good use by helping the company design and implement an online ordering system that not only boosted sales but also cut wait times for the cafe’s ever-growing throng of regular customers.

Tabatha Stahl

Sous Chef

There’s perhaps nobody who better personifies Railtown’s fresh, made-from-scratch culinary philosophy than Sous Chef Tabatha Stahl, who’s been a fixture in the cafe since 2012.

Growing up in the wilds of Williams Lake, B.C., Tabatha spent her formative years learning how to grow and harvest produce, butcher livestock and create meals with family and friends. Every other weekend was spent with her grandmother, experimenting with her vast collection of recipes handed down from generation to generation.

After graduating from culinary school in 2007, Tabatha moved to Vancouver to be part of its vibrant culinary scene, and quickly found work as a Chef de Partie at restaurants like Pearl Bistro and Oyster Bar in White Rock, and Vancouver’s Beyond Restaurant & Lounge in the Century Plaza Hotel and CinCin Ristorante + Bar. After a stint as Sous Chef at Central City Brew Pub + Restaurant in Surrey, Tabatha found her home at Railtown, where she enjoys helping others around her develop their own skills and flourish into strong, passionate cooks.