DINER: Habit & Cascade Folks To Open New Southeast Asian Restaurant, “The Union”

September 29, 2011 

by Andrew Morrison | I made mention of The Union in an “opening soon” piece for the paper many, many months ago (285 days ago to be exact), but work on it was delayed due to the typical snafus associated with brand new buildings. The restaurant, due this December (fingers crossed), is located at 219 Union St. at the foot of the new V6A building where Strathcona connects with Main St. on Union St. at the southern reach of Chinatown (next to the Jimi Hendrix shrine). The crew behind it are the same folks that brought us Habit Lounge and The Cascade further up Main, namely Nick Devine, Wendy Nicolay, Nigel Pike, David Nicolay and Rob Edmonds.

The info I had back then was sketchy, but now they’re ready to share details as work renews in earnest. The Union is some 2,000 sqft of virgin concrete and glass fronted by two 8×8 window frames that will roll open like the frontage at The Cascade. There will be some 84 seats, give or take, with 12 of these arranged at cozy bar tended by able Cascade hand Arthur Wynne. Much of the space will be wrapped in wood and mounted with art installations, and though I’ve yet to see renderings, I imagine the final look will be rather modern (two of the owners, Rob Edmonds and David Nicolay, make up the team at Evoke, the local design house that has delivered unto Vancouver such rooms as Commune Cafe, Electric Owl, the new Irish Heather, Sanafir, and a great many others, including Habit and The Cascade).

The food concept is an eclectic mix of Southeast Asian, so we anticipate lots of rice and noodle dishes, curries, and a range of street food-inspired small plates (mmm, satays). Doing the cooking will be Lisa Henderson, chef/co-owner of the pan-American-themed Latitude (also on Main, and also designed by Evoke). You might recall that Henderson was once upon a time the chef/co-owner of Tofino’s well-reviewed Raincoast Café, which specialised in Southeast Asian fare (most notably in Thai exoticism). The Union’s food fits right in her wheelhouse, and given the proximity of Chinatown’s produce markets, I’m sure she’s as stoked as we are.

UPDATE: New Shots on the verge of opening…


7 Responses to “DINER: Habit & Cascade Folks To Open New Southeast Asian Restaurant, “The Union””

  1. Geoffro on September 29th, 2011 11:12 am

    As the dude who lives directly above this joint (I mean literally directly), I look forward to seeing how this nets out. That said, being Chinatown, my cravings for Asian fare are sated well by Bao Bei, The Keefer, Phnom Pehn, New Town, etc. Hope this makes its own mark.

  2. Ryan Tomkinson on September 30th, 2011 7:36 am

    I understand keeping with the traditional or local fare but really do we need another asian inspired restaurant? There is more to Chinatown than well chinese food. Let’s get creative here.

  3. Scout Magazine on September 30th, 2011 10:21 am

    They aren’t doing Chinese. Think of it as a SE Asian amalgam, like Singapore.

  4. Christopher on October 10th, 2011 1:27 pm

    I love opening soon

  5. Working For The Union. « Evoke International Design on December 7th, 2011 5:01 pm

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  6. eden baylee on December 21st, 2011 7:59 pm

    I can’t wait come and try the food, but more than that – I am looking forward to the desserts. I heard a fresh approach will be taken with the sweets, and who doesn’t love something decadent to finish a meal?

  7. Kerry sears on February 23rd, 2012 9:01 am

    My wife is too conservative to speak up, but she went last night to the union, said it was great location, atmosphere, but the food was huge disappointment. It was obvious that Lisa was not on site and that the kitchen crew was rushing to serve the precooked dishes. People who come out generally want to increase the value by taking their time and stretching the time out somewhat, and apparently the 4dishes they ordered were popped out bang bang bang. No one wants to wait for food but no wants to see how fast the prepared food can be fired out of the cooler either. The scene is too competitive in Vancouver and word of mouth can kill you in short order. Get it together quick, I mean slow down