There are no vegetarians in the Bacani family. It’s probably better that way—this is the clan behind Armando’s Finest Quality Meats.
Armando Bacani grew up in the meat business in the Philippines and upon moving to Vancouver, started working at a butcher shop in the West End. Eventually, he purchased it. “We did something very crazy: we bought a shop, and I bought a book so that I could relearn the meat cutting here in North America,” he says from behind his shop counter. “When I came here 45 years ago, I noticed the cows still have four legs, so I thought, ‘It can’t be that difficult!’ However, I knew then that in North America the style of cutting is a little different than it is back home, so that’s why I bought a book: to relearn the meat cutting.”
The West End shop carried on for a bit, but operations eventually moved to the North Shore, and finally to the Granville Island Public Market, where Armando’s Finest Quality Meats has happily flourished for years. “This is the market,” Bacani says, emphasizing “the” to drive home his point. “We were fortunate to move into this market. It’s been a good ride.” Armando’s is all about the best meat—everything from Canada Prime beef, to Japanese Wagyu, to Berkshire pork, to wild boar. Need a Thanksgiving turkey? Maybe a Sunday roast, or some simple house-made sausages to snack on? They’ve got it all.
“For us, from the very beginning, we’ve always kept it the same: we would like to put out the best possible shop,” says Bacani. “What I mean by that is not just the quality of the product, but also the service that we back it up with.” Part of that service stems from the fact that this is a family business with two generations at the helm: Bacani, and his son Allan.
“Anybody who’s worked in a family business knows what it’s about: it’s fun, it has its own challenges, and there are certainly opportunities where a family business environment compared to other businesses offers more of a personal touch, and I think customers appreciate that sort of attention,” Allan says. “For me it’s just life. I was born in a box of aprons, so to speak, and I’ve been here all my life. I love it, I enjoy it. It treats me well.” Allan has a child of his own now, a two-year-old girl. It might be too early to say if she will follow in her father’s and grandfather’s footsteps one day, but she is already certainly on the right path: “Right now she likes chicken,” Allan says, before a smiling Armando adds, “We’re making sure she’s not going to turn vegetarian.”