New Restaurant “L’Abattoir” To Open In Gastown This Summer…

April 9, 2010.

A new Gastown restaurant is under construction in the original Irish Heather location at 217 Carrall. Demolition began yesterday. It’s called L’Abattoir, a name chosen to speak to the space’s proximity to Blood Alley (‘slaughterhouse’ in French is so much sexier).

Such a moniker might weird some people out, but if Judas Goat can pull off a name that sounds like a Norwegian death metal band’s sophomore album, L’Abattoir’s a total go. I’ve been assured that there will be no carcasses hanging from the ceiling, and blood splattering is not a motif currently being entertained by the designer.

The front of house will be the realm of co-owner Paul Grunberg, former GM at Chambar and Market (most recently he’s been moonlighting at Bao Bei), and the back of house is in the hands of co-owner/chef Lee Cooper. Applying his business acumen to the project is Nin Rai. He went to Malaspina with Cooper, and owns Truffles Fine Foods with chef David Lee. A young, hungry group.

Grunberg is a known entity to me (and you, if you get out much). I’ve seen what he’s done, loved where he’s done it at, and recognise him as one of the city’s top drawer managers. Though this may be his first swing of the independence bat, I don’t doubt his abilities one bit, especially since he’s personally invested.

Cooper is a total mystery to me, and that’s what excites me the most. The 31 year old seems like a really nice guy – the nephew of none other than Okanagan pioneer Bernard Casavant (was Burrowing Owl, now Manteo). He’s made the right moves staging; training at some big guns (London’s Tom Aitkens, Maze, and most recently at Napa’s Ubuntu); and was once upon a time a chef de partie at the storied Fat Duck. Closer to home, he did a stint under Michael Allemeier (interview) at Mission Hill, moving on to sous chef positions at Scott Jaeger’s award-winning Pear Tree and Jean-Georges Vongerichten’s Market in the Shangri-La Hotel. Though I’ve never eaten a morsel from the man, having read that back I sure as hell want to.

The approach he’s taking to the food seems straightforward. Though they don’t want to be pigeon-holed, from what I gather it’ll be affordable, modern French with bouts of rustic classicism and plenty of attention being paid to details. They won’t be afraid to take chances, Grunberg told me, but they’ll do so with confidence. Sounds plenty like Boneta up the street, which is a very good thing as there are plenty of beery, jolly joints in Gastown, and only the one swipe at excellence. An extra dash of the stuff wouldn’t hurt, and Lord knows Boneta could use the company.

  • L'Abattoir Restaurant in Gastown | The first day of demolition
  • L'Abattoir Restaurant in Gastown | Looking down at the entrance from the mezzanine
  • Paul Grunberg and Lee Cooper in the original Irish Heather space (before it was L'Abattoir)
  • L'Abattoir Restaurant in Gastown | The mezzanine
  • L'Abattoir Restaurant in Gastown | The mezzanine
  • L'Abattoir Restaurant in Gastown | Big windows
  • L'Abattoir Restaurant in Gastown | Looking upstairs from the entrance
  • L'Abattoir Restaurant in Gastown | The bar area
  • L'Abattoir Restaurant in Gastown
  • L'Abattoir Restaurant in Gastown | The 22 seat solarium
  • L'Abattoir Restaurant in Gastown | Paul inspects the ancient and sordid works of vandals
  • L'Abattoir Restaurant in Gastown | From the back hall looking toward the bar area
  • Demo day at L'Abattoir Restaurant in Gastown | owners Lee Cooper, Paul Grunberg, and Nin Rai
  • L'Abattoir Restaurant in Gastown | From the solarium looking back toward the entrance

Old Heather hands will remember how the address is split into three sections. There’s the entrance with its 10 seat bar (and now partially open kitchen and pass); a 48 seat mezzanine level, which sounds like it’s going to be pretty stunning (herringbone-patterned wood floors, butcher block tables, and elegant stemware set against the ancient brick walls); and a mosaic-floored rebuild of the original 22 seat solarium in the back (where I’m sure some of you used to down pints and hack butts back in the day). Craig Stanghetta, who did the design with Tannis Ling and Ryan Murfitt at Bao Bei, is doing a 27 foot long, foraged branch chandelier for this back space, and it’ll be open for both lunch and dinner from Monday to Saturday (until midnight), with a brunch service on Sunday. David Hepworth of Situ Design is responsible for the overall look at L’Abattoir. He designed Feenie’s, the old Lumiere, Pear Tree, and the Vancouver Club redux, so amateur he is not.

L’Abattoir is probably the most exciting, promising restaurant currently in Vancouver’s pipe for a number of reasons, not least because it has the potential to change (and possibly even elevate) the game in Gastown, which is arguably the most exciting postal code in which to enjoy a night on the town. I also can’t help but love that it’s going in the original Irish Heather location, the one that played such a large role in sparking the neighbourhood’s current renaissance. The only thing I don’t like about it is that can’t eat there right now.

L’Abattoir opens this Summer (not 2011, as it says at the end of the video above – my bad). As always, keep up with Scout for updates…

ALL ANTICIPATED OPENINGS

  • jcsaucey

    Lee Cooper rocks! This one is going to be amazing! I’ll add one more exclamation for the hell of it!
    !

  • Trace

    Gastown is shaping up morem than nicely!!!!

  • Rachael

    … I am confused.. or maybe completely mistaken… Isn’t the old irish heather where Cork and Fin Currently resides?

  • Scout Magazine

    Nope. Cork & Fin is next door to the south.

  • http://www.therefineryvancouver.com Lauren Mote

    i’m so psyched for this…
    paul congrats to you and the team!
    the space is incredible.
    i’m so excited to see how it looks in the end.
    muahah. xo

  • Xtina

    Excited about this!!! Congrats Paul & co!

  • Wilson

    Is it me, or does Paul Grunberg look like a bearded Shia Lebeouf? =P

    He served my party and I at Bao Bei … great service and recommendations.

  • Jason

    I don’t know why Lee bother to put his name as worked at the Ubuntu even though he only work for couple of months… nowadays I guess you can put your name anywhere if you work at the place where its recognized with michelin stars… lol not even a year

  • http://www.milku.com helly

    Paul is great so I know the restaurant will be the same.

  • Bob

    Well, more yaletownish fare in Gastown? Time will tell.

    One wonders how all these new places will survive. Darwinian evolution in the food biz? Sadly, when a new place is “discovered” (ie Gastown) it tends to lose the charm that made the neighborhood special. Many of the recent Gastown openings are bland and could be anywhere. Your name gives me hope – a nod to Gastown history .. now you just have to follow that up good food, good service and avoid pretense like the plague. (too many new places down here put on airs)

    I urge you to understand the long established Gastown community. Doing this may be the best move you ever made. No other recent opening has done this – and that may leave them on the bone pile when the excessive number of restaurants in corrected. There will be failures down here in Gastown in the new year or so. In the dark days of winter – when patrons are few and far apart it is the local community that will support you with their business.

    Wishing you all the success.. be bold… be innovative.. just don’t be a yaletown type of joint. Just some thoughts from a long time resident of Gastown. I look forward to trying this place.

  • Jo

    Hey Paul, apologies for addressing you as Chef earlier this evening. The hostesses must have gotten a laugh out of that one!

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Lorem Ipsum is simply dummy text of the printing and typesetting industry. Lorem Ipsum has been the industry's standard dummy text ever since the 1500s, when an unknown printer took a galley of type and scrambled it to make a type specimen book. It has survived not only five centuries, but also the leap into electronic typesetting, remaining essentially unchanged. It was .