DINER: Cru’s Mark Taylor Takes Over Famed South Granville Address To Launch “Siena”

December 12, 2011.

Andrew Morrison | Mark Taylor, the owner of West Broadway’s award-winning Cru, has picked up the storied but long vacant Star Anise location (1485 West 12th). With it, he plans to open a new restaurant called Siena (like the Tuscan city) by early February, 2012. Siena will be a casual departure from the semi-formal Cru, not just in look and feel but in price point. The inexpensive concept, which sounds very Nookish, will be predominately Italian, with some southern French and Spanish influences. We can expect 42 seats in the 1,500 sqft space, and dinner seven nights a week (as well as weekend brunch). Cru chef Alana Peckham is designing the menu as we speak.

So what to think? Well, South Granville could always use more down-to-earth eateries built with the apartment dense surrounds in mind, and we’ve seen casual Italian win in just about every Vancouver neighbourhood that it’s been injected into over the last five years. So far, this area hasn’t been given the treatment, so why not? Though others might see the physical location as a gamble because it’s off the main Granville drag, it’s helpful to remember that so is Vij’s. If it is any good – which isn’t difficult to imagine – I reckon they’ll do gangbusters.

Beyond all that, it’s just great to hear that someone is doing something new here. Star Anise has sat shuttered and empty since the end of the summer (and one assumes it was rather empty before that, too). Once upon a time some 15 years ago, it was where chefs/legends Robert Clark, Adam Busby, Julian Bond and Don Letendre (among a host of others) all toiled. Its old bones are steeped in local culinary history, so it is entirely appropriate that the challenge of making something of it has fallen to someone who is experienced and capable. I can’t wait for this one…

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