Grabbing a Bite at Bow & Stern
Local craft beers on tap, delicious seafood dishes and the friendliest of staff. Bow & Stern has called Montrose Avenue home since 2014. Started by Jordan Smith and his parents Jon and Jacki, the restaurant is based off the fish and chip shop they used to own while Jordan and his siblings were growing up. A staple in the Downtown Abbotsford restaurant scene, Bow & Stern is known for its amazing, personable servers and cozy dining atmosphere. The team believes in treating everyone like family and they do it well. From the moment you peek in the porthole in their wooden front door, to gripping the handle and pulling it open, you know you’re about to walk into something special.
TFV: Who joined us for the shoot, and what are their roles at B&S?
JS: I, Jordan Smith and my parents, Jacki Smith and Jon Smith. As well as, Shawn, our Front of House Manager, two of our servers, Saige and Mallory and our kitchen manager, Jeremy.
TFV: Where did the vision for B&S come from, and how did it start?
JS: The vision came from taking the same fish and chips of Jon and Jacki’s old “Fish & Chips Shop” of around 30 years and creating a space and menu around fresh seafood, local beer, wine and fresh oysters. Bringing all of our favorite things to one location.
TFV: What makes your restaurant unique?
JS: We started as a family and have continued that way. We strive to make our awesome team of employees and wonderful customers feel the same way. They’re who make us who we are.
TFV: Who are some of the local providers that you offer at your restaurant?
JS: For our charcuterie boards we offer Gelderman Farms sausage and Mt Lehman Cheese Co. fine cheeses. As we do seasonal specials, we love to design them focused around local vendors and farms. We also offer a good selection of wineries and breweries from the Fraser Valley and the lower mainland. Such as, Whispering Horse Winery, Mt.Lehman Winery, Ravens Brewing, Old Yale Brewing, Field House and the list goes on.
TFV: Tell us a little bit about your lives outside of B&S.
JS: Jon and Jacki are the parents of 3 and grand parents to 7. They spend a lot of time outside B&S with family and their grandbabies, but mostly with the grandbabies. I spend time a lot in the same way, family has to be priority. As of recent, I have worked another job aside from the restaurant life, in the clean energy or “green power” industry. But as of now, I will be full time at the restaurant and spending a lot more time doing what I love. Can’t wait!
TFV: What’s your favourite dish on the menu?
JS: A favorite has to be the fish & chips hands down. I say that because I was raised on it. The fish & chip recipe hasn’t changed in the last 30 years. Although, the house ground sirloin burger and short-rib are not far behind. Now I’m thinking of everything on the menu, the seared salmon with that horseradish Dijon aioli, honey and thyme fried chicken with specially made jalapeño and cheddar biscuit, steamed mussels with white wine cream sauce... drooling.
TFV: How would you describe the culture in Downtown Abbotsford?
JS: The culture is steadily growing. It has come a long way since we first opened in 2014 and it continues to grow and draw people from far and wide. We regularly hear from our customers the distances they have traveled to visit or even people that don’t regularly come to Downtown Abbotsford, are saying they should really come down here more often. That’s the great part about this business, meeting so many people and have a chance to be a part of their lives for a small moment. It’s great to hear and know that our community is attracting so many.
Poutine or Prawn Ceviche?
Determined by the mood or the waistline. I think of poutine as a comfort food, as a good Canadian would. Prawn ceviche is fresh and citrusy, the house fried tortilla chips are also pretty darn addicting.
Salty or Spicy?
That’s a tough one. And too much or too little of both can be disappointing. I’d have to say salty. Salt can bring out such character in different flavors and could make or break the dish.
Crab or Cod & Chips?
On the regular Cod & Chips, a special treat, crab. Dungeness crab is a delicious treat. To me Cod & Chips is something I love and is close to home.
TFV: Who are some of your favourite locals from the Fraser Valley to follow on social media?
JS: Whispering Horse Winery has to be one of my faves.
TFV: Are there any businesses in the Fraser Valley that inspire you? And why?
JS: I can think of a few off the top of my head and for very similar reasons. The Algra Bros, truly one of a kind team with a view and vision for the community. The creators of our local favorites in downtown, Old Hand and Little Brother Brunch. The creativity and care behind everything they do, it is truly inspiring. And lastly, Field House Brewing in east Abbotsford. There are truly geniuses behind the scenes here. All creating spaces for everyone to come, eat, drink and enjoy.
TFV: If you could recommend one place in the Fraser Valley, what would it be? And why?
JS: For any season, Harrison Lake and Hot Springs is a favourite. With mountains and water, it’s an all around great location for families. It’s amazing places like this are so close to home
A solid menu built around fresh seafood, local beer, wine and fresh oysters, Bow & Stern is the perfect stop for lunch or dinner. A taste you’ll never stop craving, be sure to check them out!