The 5 best unionized food spots in vancouver 2024

The sun is shining, the cherry blossoms are blooming, and there’s an unmistakable buzz in Vancouver’s air as the city prepares for another beautiful summer. It’s time to pack away the raincoats and rediscover some of the city’s best espresso shots, ice cream scoops, and baked goods!

These spots aren’t just serving up delicious food and drink; they’re also serving up fair wages, benefits, and more to workers! 

Whether you’re catching up with friends over the city’s best cup of coffee, or treating yourself to a scoop of housemade ice cream (or a pint, we won’t judge), these spots won’t disappoint.

Get ready to soak up the best of Vancouver’s summer at these top unionized eateries.

Matchstick interior with logo overlaid.
Image courtesy of

This Vancouver-based café chain is serving up some of the city’s best coffee, baked goods, and vibes. Spread across four Vancouver locations, you’re never too far from your next delicious latte or baked treat (psst, try the croissant!).

Known for their eye-catching interiors, colourful branding, and of course, their fresh roasted coffee, Matchstick is a must-visit stop on your next sunny weekend off.

Whether you’re soaking up the sun out front of their Davie St. location, or popping by their Yaletown location for a quick bite, these workers are serving up some seriously good eats.

Our order?

Vanilla Oat Latte, Chocolate Croissant, and a bag of "Spring Fling Espresso" to-go!

Image courtesy of

Since the Earnest Ice Cream’s Fraser St. and Quebec St. locations joined the UFCW 1518 team in 2023, they have been dishing out more than just their delectable Mint Chip – they’re also scooped up fair wages and benefits for their workers.

Imagine strolling down the street, suddenly enveloped by the irresistible aroma of freshly baked waffle cones and the unique, sweet scent of Lavender Shortbread ice cream mingling with rich espresso notes – sorry, we’re daydreaming here!

Hitting the scene in 2012, Earnest has cemented it’s place as a go-to stop for Vancouverites.

It wouldn’t be a Vancouver summer without stopping at their Quebec St. location, grabbing a scoop, and enjoying a sunny walk on the seawall.

Our order?

Double scoop: London Fog, Salted Caramel  – don't forget the waffle cone1

Find them at their two unionized locations: Earnest Quebec St. and Earnest Fraser St. 

Image courtesy of

Four words: Best. Cinnamon. Buns. Ever.

Grounds For Coffee has made a reputation for itself as the go-to spot for the best cinnamon buns in Vancouver (maybe the world) – and for good reason. 

These buns are nut-free, egg-free, and best of all, no raisins in sight. The bakers at Grounds For Coffee aren’t just cooking up the best cinnamon buns in the world – they also have some of the best muffins, cookies, and sandwiches that you can find in the city!

The best part? When these workers aren’t baking delicious treats, steaming up incredible coffee, or just generally making customers’ days, they’re also building a better workplace! Where workers are fairly compensated, treated with respect, and given benefits they deserve!

Our order?

Classic cinnamon bun (or a dozen), extra icing, and a London Fog to go with it.

Find them at their Alma St. location or on The Drive

Image courtesy Siup via

Look’s like we’re on a roll with the baked treats (no pun intended), because we’re introducing you to donut heaven.

Cartems has taken home so many awards that they’re giving Michael Phelps a run for his money. Ranked Vancouver’s best donut by the Georgia Strait, the fourth best in Canada by Yelp, and most importantly the best donut by many loyal Vancouverite-fans!

With classic donuts, innovative creations, and both gluten free and vegan options, there’s something for everyone. They even carry Matchstick Coffee and Earnest Ice Cream so you can support three union-shops in one visit!

Their Gluten-Free Baking Mix was also a hit with our team – just incase you have a summer vacation planned and can’t go a few days without your Cartems fix.

Our order?

A dozen assorted donuts, Chai Latte – don't forget the bag of Matchstick coffee and pint of Earnest to-go!

Find them at their Main St. location.

Café interior with logo overlaid.
Image courtesy Rick Chung via

Since it was founded in 2004, 49th Parallel Coffee Roasters has gained a reputation for sourcing some of the best beans in the world, and serving up one of the city’s best cups of coffee – the cherry on top was when this local chain organized under Teamsters 213 in 2021. 

There are few other places in Vancouver where you can grab a delicious iced coffee, fresh Lucky’s Donut, and a bag of rare coffee beans to-go – all in one stop!

You can either enjoy 49th Parallel at one of their 4 Vancouver locations, their store in Montreal, or pick them up at your local stockist (hint: they’re carried at many of our unionized Save-On-Foods and Urban Fare stores!)

If you’re looking for the perfect way to enjoy a sunny summer day, we recommend popping by their 4th Ave. location and savouring a delicious iced drink and baked treat in their sun-room patio.

Our order?

Iced Vanilla Latte and Lucky's Salted Caramel Old Fashioned Donut.

Find your closest shop or stockist on the 49th Parallel Website

Final thoughts

While we believe all these locations are worth visiting for their delicious food and drink, we know the real secret to their success lies in the hands of the workers who make them great. Their dedication and hard work bring these Vancouver food spots to life.

We hope you’ll visit one of these stores and support union eateries in Vancouver. By choosing to dine at these spots, you’re not just treating yourself to some top-notch meals; you’re also backing a community that values fair work conditions and the art of great food! Bon appetite!

UFCW 1518 comprises tens of thousands of workers in BC’s retail sector. Staff at Earnest Ice Cream, Matchstick Coffee, Cartems Donuts and more are fighting to improve working conditions in BC’s retail industry. 

Want to learn how you can join a union? Visit