Feature Member of the Month: Manny Bahia

manny-speaking

 

What started as a casual basement-based blog celebrating the city of Vancouver has turned into a go-to source for locals and tourists alike. The numbers speak for themselves: Vancity Buzz enjoys seven million plus page views a month. “We’re the largest digital-only publication in western Canada,” says co-founder Manny Bahia, TEDxSFU speaker and BC Business’s 30 Under 30 in 2015. “We get more local traffic than the legacy brands, so it’s been quite the ride.”

 

The digital sphere captured Manny’s imagination when he was only 10. “I remember going to the school computer lab at lunchtime and learning how to code, doing HTML, and making websites on my own. So I’ve always been fascinated with the web and how to monetize that space,” he says. Manny and his childhood friend, Karm Sumal, grew up just a house apart from each other. Every week, they would meet at Karm’s parents’ basement to play video games together. And that’s what they were doing one day in 2008 when they decided to start a blog. Disappointed by the dearth of positive news and tired of hearing the “no fun city” complaint, Manny and Karm decided to try to change Vancouver’s reputation.

 

Manny and Karm set up the site in minutes and started publishing their first stories. Neither had the benefit of a background in journalism –Manny was pursuing a career in real estate and Karm was working at Blenz Coffee – but that didn’t prevent them from sharing their views on issues that mattered to them and their peers. “Our first articles were pretty opinion-based. We talked about politics – we prefer these policies over others – real estate, development, and about sports. We had Mats Sundin [on the Canucks] at the time and we had some opinions about that,” says Manny, laughing.

 

Running the blog out of Karm’s basement, their start-up cost was zero. Within the first six months, Vancity Buzz secured their first advertisement – a banner for a bachelor party planning service – for $75 a month. Shortly after, Blenz Coffee came on board, and business has since grown to include Concord, Telus, the Whitecaps, and Blueprint, to name only a few. “We’ve never had any investors,” says Manny. “It’s just been profits funding the growth.”

 

But it wasn’t all smooth sailing. Vancity Buzz had their share of naysayers. “During the first couple of months, people in the blogosphere were like, ‘oh these guys are not going to be around for long,’” says Manny. “We were the new kids on the block, and journalists weren’t taking too positively to what we were doing either.”

 

As the city went full tilt for the 2010 Winter Olympics, so did Manny and Karm. With no press passes available to them, the duo pulled all-nighters, creatively repurposing content from the VANOC website to develop their own guides to the experience and churning out realtime highlights on Facebook and Twitter. It paid off: their page views skyrocketed. “We engaged with everybody, it didn’t matter who they were, didn’t matter if they only had a dozen followers or thousands. And I think that’s just been one of the keys to success for us – we don’t think we’re better than everybody,” says Manny. “Now, we have such a great following built organically – our readership love sending us tips all the time.”

 

In 2013, Vancity Buzz was the first to break the news that the Kanye West concert was going to be cancelled. “People were calling us out on social media, saying ‘no way’, other publications were calling us out, celebrities in Vancouver were calling us out,” Manny says. Even within the Vancity Buzz team, doubt began to percolate. “But we were like, ‘no, we have to stick to our source –we’re sure.’ And low and behold, a few hours later, the tour came out with the official statement: the concert had been cancelled. So that was a pivotal moment for us in cementing our credibility.”

 

Building credibility was one of Vancity Buzz’s earliest challenges. “It’s just something we’ve had to persevere through,” says Manny. “In the beginning, it was simple things like cleaning up our grammar and making sure we didn’t have typos. We hired people that were smarter than us and better than us at journalism to improve the quality of our content. But the advantage is that we’ve always been lean and nimble – we don’t have to go through multiple processes to pump news out and so we were able to publish news quickly and in a concise and compelling manner.”

 

On the topic of breaking news, Vancity Buzz has, as of June 1, officially launched their expansion into Toronto and Montreal with fresh branding and a sleek new website design as dailyhive.com. It’s an exciting time for Manny and Karm, who now lead a team of 25 full-time staff.

 

Manny and Karm joined Terminal City Club last year. “Vancouver gets a really bad rap for being cliquey and people not being friendly or cold, but when you walk into TCC, it’s the complete opposite,” Manny says. “There’s a lot of opportunity here in terms of meeting new people and networking, and it’s just so friendly.” Today, Manny and Karm still play video games once a week at the basement where it all began. “We do that to keep that perspective, to keep that humbleness, and remind ourselves where we came from because we’re as happy now as we were then.”

 

Amanda Jun, Club Relations Manager

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Lions Pub

The Grill

Cuvée Wine Bar

TO SNACK AND SHARE

warm potato chips 9
caramelized onion dip

confit tuna conserva 14
toasted baguette, preserved lemon, Mediterranean olives

cheese and charcuterie 24
selection of 3 cured meats and 3 artisanal cheeses, pickles, mustard, crostini

seafood tower 38
crab leg, poached prawns, scallop ceviche, marinated octopus, smoked salmon, rare ahi tuna, cocktail sauce, lemon aioli, wakami gomae

mezze plate 18
beet hummus, za’atar spiced Macedonian feta, marinated tomatoes, Castletravano olives, lavash

wagyu beef carpaccio nigiri 17
bonito mayo, pickled ginger, micro salad

crispy fried chicken 14
sumac spiced honey, sugar waffle shards

blistered shishito peppers 11
Aleppo chili, lime, smoked maldon, micro cilantro

satay trio 18
2 piece each
tandoori grilled salmon belly, raita
kabayaki glazed prawn, avocado salsa
grilled flank steak, hazelnut coconut sauce

sliders 5 each
Beef, caramelized onion, house pickle, pretzel bun
Salmon, tzaziki, cabbage slaw, pretzel bun
Chicken, lettuce, tomato, harissa aioli, pretzel bun
Quinoa vegetable, beet hummus, marinated tomato, pretzel bun


THE LIGHTER SIDE

north arm farm heirloom carrots 9
candied hazelnuts

charred broccolini 9
romesco sauce

potatoes mostarda 9
onion, mustard

seasonal vegetables 9
fine herb butter

hand-cut kennabec fries 8
truffle aioli, chive

caesar salad 12
romaine, olive oil fried sourdough, white anchovies, parmesan

house-made beef burger 22
CAB chuck & brisket, brioche bun, aged cheddar, double smoked bacon, tomato, caramalized onions, lettuce, house made pickles

quinoa vegetable burger 17
red pepper hummus, tzatziki, lettuce, tomato, pickle, brioche bun, signature sauce

marinated Tofu poke bowl 23
shaved spring radish, chili pickled cucumber, avocado, warm jade rice, taro chips

braised beef cheek pappardelle 24
pearl onions, ricotta salata, pine nuts

carrot & saffron risotto 23
olive crumble, carrot chips

1892 Bistro

APPETIZERS

Seafood Chowder   | 9

Salade Tatin  | 15
spring vegetables, Golden Ears Cheesecrafters Neufchatel, marcona almonds, puff pastry, 62°egg

Steak Tartare  | 15
Horseradish cream, capers, shallots, cured egg yolk

Pan Seared Scallops  | 16
squid ink aioli, kohlrabi slaw

Hamachi Crudo  | 17
kombu cured Hamachi crudo, yuzu, castelvetrano olives, puffed rice

Caesar Salad  | 13
romaine, white anchovy, parmesan cheese, crouton

White Anchovy and Burrata Toastie  | 17
rye bread, olive oil, basil tomato confit

Salad Maison  | 15
Hannah Brook Farm greens, frisse, radicchio, pickled Anjou pear, spiced walnuts, Macedonian feta, basil vinaigrette

Asparagus and Prosciutto Salad  | 17
snap peas, shaved zucchini, smoked apple, pea shoots, white balsamic dressing

MAIN

DAILY SANDWICH  | 16
served with choice of soup, salad or fries

Seafood Cobb Salad  | 24
Scallop, prawn, seared ahi, candied salmon belly, salmon roe, heritage greens, avocado buttermilk dressing

Rossdown Free Range Chicken Salad  | 24
Hannah Brook Farm Heirloom Greens, Hannah Brook Farm greens, frissee, radicchio, pickled Anjou pear, spiced walnuts, Macedonian feta, basil vinaigrette

Club Bowl  | 19
mixed beans and sprouted grains, avocado, edamame hummus, tomato, hearty chips, puffed amaranth
add 62° egg 3.25

Tamari Sablefish Rice Bowl  | 29
jade rice, crunchy shaved vegetables, ginger ponzu vinaigrette

Agadashi Chick Pea Fritter  | 27
mushroom broth, enoki, baby bok choy

Sesame Crusted Rare Ahi Tuna  | 29
edamame succotash, unagi glaze, crispy leeks

1892 Panini  | 16
capicollo, provolone, ham, arugula, lemon aioli, ciabatta
Served with choice of soup, salad or fries

1892 Burger  |  22
ground bison and beef, house made aioli, pickles, smoked bacon jam, radicchio, tomato, aged cheddar, brioche bun
Served with choice of soup, salad or fries

Steak Frites  | 36
7oz Wagyu Sirloin, hand cut French fries, tomato horseradish butter, choice of petite salad, soup or heirloom vegetables

Charred Hanger Steak  | 29
whipped potato, brocollini, sauce bordelaise

Pappadelle Sauce Vierge  | 23
Heirloom tomato, basil, extra virgin olive oil, coriander
Add crab meat or braised short rib 8

Wild “Pacific Provider” Pacific Salmon  |  35
tamari wild rice, bonito aioli, crisp seaweed

Chorizo Crusted Halibut  | 42
roasted pepper emulsion, amaranth salad, mint chimicurri

Saffron & Carrot Gnocchi  | 27
brown butter carrot puree, pinenut crumble, gruyere

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FRESH SHEET  ­


DAILY SOUP
Beef & Mushroom | 7

PACIFIC FISH CHOWDER
Salmon Ling Cod & Clams | 8

MEMBERS’SPECIAL
B.L.T Sandwich | 15
toasted multigrain
soup, salad or fries

DAILY SALAD
Smoked Candied Salmon Salad | 18
edamame, tomato, red onion
bonito aioli

FEATURED ENTRÉE
Garlic Ginger Soy Beef Stir Fry | 22
bell pepper, broccolini, onion
basmati rice

SWEET TREATS

Vanilla Custard Tart | 10
apple compote, cardamom crumble

Elderflower & Prosecco Gelee | 10
raspberry yogurt panna cotta

Red Velvet Cake | 10
cream cheese, shaved chocolate

Wine Club

Stay tuned for next quarter's wine club!





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