DINER: New Comfort Food Joint “Lily Mae’s” Opening This July In The Heart Of Gastown

May 15, 2012.

A new restaurant called Lily Mae’s Comfort Cafe is under construction at 12 Powell Street (between The Diamond and The Sardine Can). It’s coming to us from keen first timers Jeff Jefkins and Armand Tencha. Jefkins wasn’t on site when I went by today, but Tencha was, and as you can see from the shot of him above, he’s an endearing beamer. He’s been out of the trade for half a decade doing some schooling (social work), but he was once upon a time a FOH staffer with stints at The Wedgewood and Lift (among others) on his CV. Together, they’re turning the small, 25 seat space (ex-Cafe Dolcino) into a casual room licensed for beer and wine with a European comfort food theme. From what I gathered, it sounded like Polish and Ukranian meets French, but don’t quote me on that. The construction is already well underway, and stripping has already revealed some lovely old bones, including three windows arched fetchingly with brick. I was particularly happy to hear and see that the tiny mezzanine loft was being restored and put to use (it will include some seating, a la Cork & Fin). It really appears as if they’re letting the age of the shell inform their design, which can be a beautiful thing when done properly. They’ve already purchased an old chandelier and have sourced several suitable antiques besides (bannisters, etc), so it sounds as if they’re moving in a cozy, old school direction. I’m looking forward to seeing how it turns out. Lily Mae’s (so named after Jefkins’ mother, an accomplished baker from Carmen, Manitoba) is scheduled to open before July’s end. Take a look…

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