This is a tough one. I’m looking forward to all three of the following options, and have the utmost confidence in their individual abilities and relative likelihood of success, even in a shit poor economy. But if I had to pick just one…gosh…I just couldn’t do it. Here, you do it.
For those requiring some background…
The Corner Suite Bistro De Luxe
Opening day: early July
Former Boneta co-owner and Le Crocodile/Lumiere/Chambar managerial alumnus Andre McGillivray has partnered up with barman Steve Da Cruz (Boneta and most recently on the wood at Gastropod). Together they’ve secured the old Piccolo Mondo location (most recently Saveur) at 850 Thurlow, just off the Robson drag. They’re releasing no details on the concept or the plan just yet, but with the players involved I think it’s safe to assume that we might be looking at a cocktail-forward and service driven joint with very good food. I’m imagining a downtown cousin of Chambar and Boneta. The bigger news is that the executive chef is going to be none other than Anthony Sedlak, local boy and star of the Food Network show, The Main. This is Anthony’s first executive role, which means this is likely just as exciting for him as it is for his legions of fans.
Opening day: May 2009
With principals that are among the city’s top bartenders – Mark Brand, the 2006 Van Mag Bartender of the Year and co-owner of Boneta; ex-Chambar bar manager Josh Pape; and Sophie Taverner, formerly of The Cascade – they could have called themselves The Ghengis Khan Soda Shack & Swizzle Bar and they’d still likely open to a sustained packed house. Located upstairs at 6 Powell St overlooking Gassy Jack Square, the sixty seat bar and restaurant is called The Diamond. They’ve picked up Christie Peters (ex-Feenies, Chow) and Pierre Natarani (ex-Feenies, Boneta, Medina) to run the small, easy Asian-themed kitchen (gyozas, ramen, etc), and Chambar’s Charles Ainsbury is on his way down to join the bar team as well (the world’s youngest Bartender of the Year, from Australia). The business is a two fronted thing, with days seeing it run as a bartending school, something that will hopefully help elevate the bar scene from its rye and coke doldrums. They’ll also be offering spirit seminars to folks who want to sip and learn prior to heading out on the town, not unlike the many wine tasters you might see at Salt just around the corner. But it’s from 5:30pm until midnight (Thurs-Sun) that The Diamond will likely shine brightest.
Opening day: late summer 2009
It’s about time the journeyman settled down! He’s worked a lot of places over the years (and has accrued a great many of fans and regulars), so this has the reassuring ring of permanence to it. I just spent a week with him in Kentucky on the Bourbon Trail, so I’ve seen first hand how much he appreciates his spirits (it’s terrifying).
So where’s the new place going to be? According to an email from Jay, it’s “the old Flux location in Gastown, just southeast of the Steam clock.” There’ll be 160 seats in total, with 25 at the bar. The concept? “Spirit focused, back to basics drinking and eating.” Huzzah!
Regular readers will recall the flame out of Flux, the concept-less joint at 162 Water St. that tried (if I recall correctly) to mix chocolate with sushi. I always thought it was a prime location, and ripe for folks with either solid name recognition and talent or people with lots of money to buy both. Jay will knock it out of the park here.
Jones’ partner is executive chef Chris Irving, who worked at the Wickaninnish Inn in Tofino and West before moving to the UK to toil under the direction of Marcus Wareing and Gordon Ramsay at Restaurant Petrus in London.