DINER: Two Industry Veterans Set To Open “Cuchillo” Eatery On The DTES This Spring

by Andrew Morrison | Restaurant wonks and food lovers will be happy to learn that the main floor of the old building at 261 Powell St. (next to Bean Around The World and Big Lou’s Butcher Shop) has been picked up by a pair of industry veterans who are aiming to turn the raw shell of the place into a 93 seat restaurant by the end of Spring 2013.

Those same folks will remember chef Stu Irving (above right) from his days at Cobre, Wild Rice, Bin 941 and, most recently, The Diamond, but they’ll have to go way back to recall his business partner, John Cooper (left above). Cooper used to work with Irving at Raintree in its 1990s Gastown heyday, back when the now long defunct restaurant was nurturing the early careers of Michael Dinn (JoieFarm), Tyson Reimer (Peckinpah), Andy Crimp (ex-Chambar), Karen Barnaby (Fish House), and many more (it shuttered in 2002). He only just returned to the front of house this year.

Their new project is called Cuchillo (Spanish for “Knife”). The food concept sounds like a slightly more health-conscious evolution of Irving’s work at Cobre, which closed last year after its lease came to an end (it is now another location of Rodney’s Oyster House). From what I understand, the plates will be modern interpretations and presentations of dishes that would be recognized by the peoples and cuisines of Latin America, so if I were to give it a name, I’d call it Modern Pan-Latin. Though there will be plenty of meat on the menu, expect to see some vegan/vegetarian stuff on it as well, albeit without any lifestyle harpery (Cooper is a vegetarian, but he’s not the least bit evangelical about it).

I don’t have an exact date for the building’s beginnings, but it’s in Japantown (DTES) and looks like it has 1890-1910 bones; lots of thick wooden beams and – get this – grey brick, not red. There are several SRO apartments on the three upper floors, the side windows of which can be seen up through the cool-looking, angled skylights casting natural light on one side of the soon-to-be dining room (these look like transparent buttresses). The whole was recently redone from top to bottom and given a seismic treatment, so there’s a naked corset of reinforcing steel wrapping around the room’s waist. From the schematics (see below), you can see a lounge area that includes an 18 seat bar facing a 30 seat communal table leading to a dining room proper opposite Irving’s open kitchen (the design is being done by Mary Lou Rudakewich from M Studios). The whole thing is long and thin with very high ceilings; rather reminiscent of Wildebeest. According to Irving and Cooper, there hasn’t been a business in the space for roughly 30 years (they don’t know much about it except that it was a Japanese bath-house at one point).

It’s just a few blocks from my house, so I’m very interested to see how they do here. It’s a big room on a stretch of the Downtown Eastside that hasn’t seen an interesting restaurant in some time (the food program at the No. 5 Orange notwithsanding), so it will have its challenges. And despite Irving’s long history of cooking interesting things in the neighbourhood and how Cooper’s Mom was once upon a time Miss Gastown in the St. Patrick’s Day Parade (she used to own Maggie’s Boiler Room on Powell in the 1970′s), the pair will almost certainly be labelled “gentrifiers” by the many NIMBYs who claim to represent the DTES. When I remind Irving of this, he bridles. “I grew up white trash and clawed for everything I have. How could people possibly make that argument?” When I tell him that people will still make the argument regardless of his upbringing, his intentions, or his history of toil in the community, he just shrugs his shoulders and says, “I cook honest comfort food, nothing fancy.”

Fat Dragon, as we just saw, couldn’t make it past nine months in these parts. Will Cuchillo fare differently? That remains to be seen, but for the sake of my appetite I certainly hope so. There are stark differences that work in Cuchillo’s favour, chief among these being that it’s on the 200 block of Powell, and not the 500 block. And there might as well be a chasm between the two addresses. Fat Dragon was pretty well isolated where it was, and Cuchillo is much more accessible; closer to Main, closer to Gore, closer to the hordes of Gastown, and on the immediate doorstep of Railtown’s countless small business offices. I reckon it has a significant leg up on account of its location. But we’ll see. They don’t even have their building permit yet, and opening day is a long time away. In the meantime, take a look…

CuchilloIMG_8659CuchilloJohn Cooper and Stu Irving | CuchilloIMG_8656CuchilloIMG_8637CuchilloCuchilloIMG_2121IMG_2123CuchilloIMG_2133IMG_8631IMG_8628IMG_8630IMG_8633IMG_8645IMG_53829203791727_f43f9fcbdc_z9206581824_3b3c54c1d2_bIMG_2081

ALL ANTICIPATED OPENINGS

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Andrew Morrison lives and works in Vancouver as editor-in-chief of Scout and National Referee & Judge at the Gold Medal Plates and Canadian Culinary Championships. He also contributes regularly to a wide range of publications, radio programs, and television shows on local food, culture and travel; collects inexpensive things; and enjoys rare birds, skateboards, cocktails, shoes, good pastas, many songs, and the smell of camp fires.

  • Organmorgan

    Any of the SRO occupants being displaced or having their rents jacked – directly or indirectly? No? Then sounds good to this DTES resident. Have at ‘er and best of luck.

  • http://seanorr.tumblr.com/ Sean Orr

    what those anti-gentrification activists will most likely miss is that this whole area’s fate was largely determined by two factors- the internment of Japanese and seizing of their property, and the end of streetcar as the famous #20 used to run all the way to the sugar refinery.

  • Mr Paywall

    On some DTES NIMBY website:

    “Rooms that used to rent for $425 are renting for $475, $575, or even more.”

    There were 34 rooms when it was an SRO, not sure how many are there now.

    Saw on Flickr that this place was originally called the Crescent Rooms built in 1912 and the Japanese bath house was in the basement:

    http://www.flickr.com/photos/bobkh/6051091092/in/set-72157594340709228

  • Donald

    I bought some RDs from a guy there a few years ago. Place was scary NASTY. All clean now.

  • Ballsy

    I loved Stu’s eats at Cobre…that kid can rock a kitchen…and Cooper will keep the front of the house entertained while sporting the skater boy hair-doo.

    Really looking forward to seeing and tasting what these guys put out!!!

  • Antonio

    The food at Cobre was delicious. Pretty excited for this to open.

  • tim hayes

    wishing stuart all the best with all his delicious cuisine and sexy bearded look. cannot wait.

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  • Ivan

    The York was bought by Stephen Lippman in the fall of 2011. He has not done a mass-eviction of the place, but his agenda is an upscaling of the place. I heard from one tenant that the first manager Lippman brought in, Dinesh, offered him $200 to move out in the week before welfare cheque week. The tenant turned down the $200, saying, “That’s not enough for me to live on a mat at First United.”

    Lippman used the same technique against low-rent paying tenants at the Lotus previously. Some residents there have been less able to resist temptation and gave up their secure housing for a one-time payment. I don’t think that’s their choice, I think it’s a profiteering landlord preying on vulnerable people.

    One successful eviction that I know the details of: Dinesh picked a fight with a low-income tenant and then called the police on him. I was in the guy’s room with him when the cops came in. I heard them in the stairs saying, “There’s a drunk Indian with a knife.” They came in the door with shotguns drawn. The guy was evicted.

    Someone unsympathetic might say the guy broke the law and earned the eviction. I think it’s more systemic and more about gentrification. The evicted man had been a tenant of the York under the previous manager for more than 2 years but only made it 2 months before Lippman’s manager provoked him into a conflict and evicted him.

    This is the essence of the *cultural* problem of gentrification: housing, streets, common spaces that have been relatively stable spaces for multiply oppressed low-income people, building managers who tolerate and neighbours who support people with mental illness and addiction struggles, get pushed out for those who enforce “normal” standards of behavior.

    Then comes the economic gentrification piece. The 34 rooms that were $425 until the fall of 2011 were renting for $475-$575 by the summer of 2012. Welfare shelter rate is $375 a month.

    Oh, and it did used to be a Japanese community bath house, long decommissioned. Lippman had the whole tiled basement jackhammered straight away.

  • Dek

    “I heard from one tenant…I heard them in the stairs…I was in the guy’s room…”. Ugh, the slanted points of view and bullshit hearsay of that horrendous failure of a man, Ivan Drury! It makes me want to puke, and then go and support whatever he might be against this week. Hey Ivan, what happened with you over at CCAP? Still feel threatened by the aggression of doughnuts? Goof.

  • Heidi

    So many are afraid of truth. Pay no mind Ivan! There are many that stand behind you.

  • Tom Servua

    Ivan Drury, formerly of the Carnegie Action Project, formerly of Mobilization Against War and Occupation, formerly of Fire This Time, formerly of Youth Third World Alliance, formerly of the Ali Yerevani Galactic Rebellion, now advises on the evils of upgrading property in the DTES.

    Those who defend the ghetto in the DTES are profoundly delusional. They turn a blind eye to the pimps and johns, the drug dealers and drug enforcers, and focus all of their efforts on people who sell donuts and sandwiches.

    Ivan Drury is their confused ideologue-in-chief. His confusion is admitted in the header of his own tweetsheet. He is self-described as a “marxist who rejects historical determinism, community activist who believes in revolution, poet-academic who distrusts words”. From that admission every delusion follows.

    The Pidgin picketers (Drury leads that one as well) believe that shutting down a restaurant will somehow produce public housing. Magical thinking is essential to their world view.

    These exhausted people oppose everything. They build nothing. They want to keep the DTES as it is: a “social justice zone” for drug dealers and their victims, pimps and their prostitutes. Oh — and they demand 10,000 units of free public housing… 10,000 a year, that is.

    They oppose donuts. They ignore heroin. Unique priorities.

    On March 16th, on his Twitter page [@p0stcap?], Drury tells us that “Private property must be destroyed.”

    I’m sure he meant nothing by it.

  • Eat the Rich

    There’s no hearsay or bias here:

    “The 34 rooms that were $425 until the fall of 2011 were renting for $475-$575 by the summer of 2012. Welfare shelter rate is $375 a month.”

  • http://sadasses tami

    Truly sick crap – this capitalist oppressive colony.
    Good writing Ivan and thank you Heidi.

    Vancouver seems to be filling up with hipster asshats galore – filled with capitalist oppressive dreams, HOW GROSS.

    Yea…….we all want drug dealers, pimps….blaaa…..blaaa….that ignorant argument is SO OLD. That exists because of the ignorant racist, oppressive policy of this warped colony.

    Tom Servua – what a sad case – i wrote what i wrote for you and all the many who continue on the road of ignorance and oppression. NOT A CLUE – DUDE.

    This just gets more tiring and more obvious.
    Colonial, capitalist, oppressive racist fools!
    Yea……we are running out of people who operate on those levels………NOT.

    Keep up the good fight Ivan and everyone else who stands up to ignorant oppressive unprincipled capitalist psychopaths.

  • Dek

    Tami, you realize how stupid you sound, right?

  • Tom Servua

    Hi Tami Cosmic-Starlight-Decolonizer, good to hear from all of you.

    If you REALLY cared about standing up to “ignorant oppressive unprincipled capitalist psychopaths”, you would stand up to the drug dealers who exploit and destroy so many lives in the DTES.

    But even if you wanted to take a stand against unprincipled capitalist psychopaths — called drug dealers — you would never be allowed to do it.

    You’re in bed with VANDU, and they jones for the status quo that you so noisily defend. According to the Globe + Mail, they’re worried about progress in the DTES “destabilizing the drug market”.

    VANDU will NEVER allow you to attack the unprincipled capitalist psychopaths — called drug dealers — in the DTES.

    Besides, drug dealers fight back.

    It’s safer to wear a mask, carry a torch, and yell at a menu.

  • James

    Yet another food joint. Too many in too small of an area. I think Gastown/DTES has hit a tipping point for two reasons.

    Too much of the same -old- same-old . Find some funky theme, change a lot for the food. Everyone is doing that – boring!

    Gastown has jumped the shark. A few years ago it was trendy because of the edgy factor of the hood. Thanks to the new food joints, Gastown is now a Disney Land version of its old self – a Yaletown with cobble stones. Folks will soon figure how bland the hood has become.

    Japan Town is now the place to be.

    Good luck on the opening but I do think we will soon start to see some big names fail.

  • Page Turner

    It IS the VPD’s job to “deal with”/ eliminate dealers. They don’t! Not in any effective way. There is NO plan. We do not have the force nor the legal power to do anything about the drug dealers. Amazing that you keep at this line of distraction and blame against the picketers AND low income, long term residents of the DTES. No, not amazing … it’s all too common. As well as claiming we’re not residents, we’re paid … ANYTHING but the REAL issues. I work full time at min wage at more than one job and have for forty years. I am not a drug addict. My rent has been raised every year till it is not taking 3/4 of my income to pay it. I am trying to recover from anorexia but the increases come from my food budget. I am surrounded by pensioners and truly horrendously disabled people who, like me are being hate upon and pushed out, by commercial greed, nothing more. We have more than enough “upscale” restos in Gastown/DTES. What about a people’s restaurant, one that we can afford and want to go to that would hire ME? I worked upscale restos in Van for 20 years, no one in my hood will hire me. I don’t meet their corp “fit”. Read ” look to old” ( I am in my late 50′s). I speak several languages and have wine knowlege that matches anyone currently in the business. But I remember how you guys treated staff back then and you are worse now! So keep your job … you’ll see ME on the picket lines! Sincerely, Anti G! xo

  • Tom Servua

    Page Turner asks good questions. The answers are obvious.

    The Pidgin picket looks idiotic because they ignore heroin dealers, and go after pickle dealers. You don’t “have the force nor the legal power” to go after restaurants either, but you do it anyway. People think you have screwy priorities. Don’t you realize this?

    You ask, “What about a people’s restaurant, one that we can afford and want to go to that would hire ME?” Never heard of Potluck Cafe? Uncle Henry’s? New Mitzie’s? The Carnegie cafeteria? Ovaltine?

    But if you really want a “people’s restaurant” in the DTES, here’s an idea: do it. Organize it. Make it happen. Do it yourself, and stop complaining about the failure of others to do it for you. Do it yourself Page, and you will learn a lot about the realities of business. It’s not as easy as you think. It requires serious constant hard work.

    You could waste your time on a picket line that has zero public support, or you could invest your time in making a “people’s restaurant” a reality. Which is it?

    Here’s a hint: go see Brandon and Mark. Ask for their help and advice. You might be surprised by the result. If you want it, make it happen.

    If you expect someone to give it to you, it will never happen. Good luck.

  • http://seanorr.tumblr.com/ Sean Orr

    Just a note Tom, Ivan Drury is not the organizer of the picket and CCAP is not officially involved. Their argument is weak, you don’t need to start making stuff up to attack them.

  • Page Turner

    No one has ever given me anything! That’s what the forty years work at min wage is about! There is not ZERO support for the pickets. I’m there I see and talk to those who want to know what we are on about SOME actually join us when we tell them! Our numbers are growing and being heard. Lying and generalizing gets you no where except continuing to believe yourself. The restaurants you mention are not new nor do they have ANY kind of healthy food and New Mitzi’s is not a people’s restaurant! Now matching the prices of those we can’t afford.

    Why assume so much when I gave you TONS of info not to? Head in sand or ass! Loud and clear. Take it out for a breather and WE can ALL talk and accomplish something! : P But then that would not fill you and your buddies pockets quite as much, would it?

  • Tom Servua

    For someone who claims to be a page turner, you really need to learn to read more closely. So try again.

    I took a tour of the Carnegie restaurant a few weeks ago. They serve VERY healthy food there. The manager (Steve?) is committed to providing good food at a low price. The City already subsidizes about half the cost of every meal eaten there. What are you complaining about? Do you want someone else to pay for ALL of your food?

    The Ovaltine, Potluck Cafe, and more are also “people’s restaurants”. Or do you disdain them as well?

    The fact remains. No one is going to give you anything. Why should they? If you want a “people’s restaurant”, then create it yourself. Do the work, and earn the rewards.

    You can organize your “people’s restaurant” as a private business, an LLC, or a co-op. Whatever business model you prefer. Bring people together, create the legal entity you want, raise the start-up capital, find a location, meet the requirements of facility and code, buy the cooking and refrigeration and serving equipment, plan the menu, train the staff, purchase the food, and market your project.

    Sound like a lot of work? IT IS A LOT OF WORK. Just ask people in my business, or ask PHS. They started Potluck the very same way. Learn from them.

    If you want it, make it happen. If you expect someone to give it to you, it will never happen. That’s a lesson we all have to learn in life.

    Your picket has zero public support. Your hunger strike went nowhere. Even the people who live at Pigeon Park can’t be bothered to cross the street and join you. Take a lesson, Page, and do something positive for the DTES instead.

    You say you want a “people’s restaurant”? Good. Make it happen, and it may be the most powerful thing you have ever done. Good luck.

  • Tom Servua

    Six days ago, Page Turner wrote, “What about a people’s restaurant, one that we can afford and want to go to that would hire ME?”

    Twice she was told that no one will GIVE her such a restaurant. She was told that she could, however, create one herself, like PHS and Carnegie and others have done, but that it would take a helluva lot of work.

    Page Turner was told, in reply to her demand for a people’s restaurant in the DTES, that “You can organize your “people’s restaurant” as a private business, an LLC, or a co-op. Whatever business model you prefer. Bring people together, create the legal entity you want, raise the start-up capital, find a location, meet the requirements of facility and code, buy the cooking and refrigeration and serving equipment, plan the menu, hire and train the staff, purchase the food, and market your project.

    “Sound like a lot of work? IT IS A LOT OF WORK. Just ask people in my business, or ask PHS. They started Potluck the very same way. Learn from them.
    If you want it, make it happen. If you expect someone to give it to you, it will never happen. That’s a lesson we all have to learn in life.”

    On May 6, Page Turner’s demand for a “people’s restaurant” was met by a challenge. Do the work, Page, and you will have your own restaurant.

    Six days later? Silence. Six days later? Nothing. Page has turned.

    Why are people who “demand” a social benefit so unwilling to actually work for it? That goes for social housing too.

    If you want a “people’s restaurant” with “healthy food” at “a price we can afford” and that will hire YOU Page, organize it yourself. Do the work. Make it happen. That’s what we did, and that’s what we do.

    If you are not prepared to do the work, don’t expect anyone to listen to your “demands” — much less give you a “people’s restaurant”.

    Otherwise, it looks like you just want to shut down one restaurant, but are too lazy to open your own — and REALLY serve the people.

  • Page Turner

    You are so disrespectful when hidden behind your screen! Read and HEAR my comments fully. You are just skimming and rushing to your own judgement to pump your ego and “rightness”. I work 40 hours a week and am pushing sixty! I demand and have demanded nothing( some picketers use that hot button word … I DO NOT!!)We have Potluck in part thanks to Wendy Pedersen and don’t need another one. I am talking MIXED population with upscale menu and investment, like where I spent my early lifetime working at. I also have several disabilities that most people let stop them from supporting themselves … (or have not choice they are so bad) as mine will be one day soon. I do not want to rush the process of complete disability by taking on such a project after my long, labour intensive, forty hour week. My performance is also hampered greatly by long term sleep deprivation due to the rich drunks screaming at each other when they go outside to smoke ( while at these upscale restos outside my window) or head home taking hours to leave my block they are so busy fighting and pissing/barfing on the street BEFORE they return to their quiet neighbourhood and then laughing that the rubbies do it why not?.Something NONE of you address that I have pointed out before. I have been silent because I took a second job to cover my rent increase, this past week! I do not have the time to kill at any hour of the day to attack vulnerable people, like you do. And because it’s poiintless to have a discussion with someone who does not HEAR and just repeats their ignorance with no new info based on the other person’s input. I will not be answering again for this reason. I have survival to deal with on a bottom rung level and THAT takes precedence. Something it’s clear you refuse to comprehend, for ALL of us who are trying to save our modest shelter where we have lived a very long time and wish to continue to do so. Your Momma must be so proud of the way you have decided to react to this Mother, Grandmother and community elder! Good luck little boy … you need it. : (

  • Page Turner

    In addition the Ovaltine and New Mitzi’s do not serve healthy food. But any detail I correct you on that is true you simply ignore and focus on those I have not addressed. No word from about the VPD not having a plan or dealing with dealers after claiming WE should do that job. And many other points you drop once proven to be absolutely using fabrication to generalize and blame the most vulnerable of Vancouver’s population. Very manly of you. Try that on someone who can fight back in person! No? Of course not! TOO dangerous and as the pot calling the kettle black that you are TOO MUCH WORK!

  • Tom Servua

    You can’t have it both ways, Page.

    You say you work a forty hour week. Very good. Most of us in my business work a sixty hour week. Big deal. And some of them are older than you. Lots of people work hard, not just you.

    You picket a restaurant, but wrote “What about a people’s restaurant, one that we can afford and want to go to that would hire ME?” However, you tell us that you are unable to lift a finger to make it happen. Perhaps if you spent less time on the picket line, and more time organizing a food line, you could get what you say you want.

    Today, your demand changed. Now you tell us that ” I am talking MIXED population with upscale menu and investment, like where I spent my early lifetime working at.” This contradicts everything you are picketing against.

    The Pidginites are AGAINST a mixed neighbourhood because it will drive out the poor, they say. Today you tell us that you want a “mixed population with upscale menu and investment”. You are contradicting yourself.

    The loud and uncouth behavior you describe is unacceptable. It is unacceptable when practiced by drunken louts in Pigeon Park, or Oppenheimer Park, at Hastings and Main, or in front of the Brandiz. Vomiting loud drunks from Surrey are no better than vomiting loud drunks from the DTES. I agree with you.

    On the 7th you wrote, “The restaurants you mention are not new nor do they have ANY kind of healthy food…” Today, you admit that Potluck and Carnegie do in fact serve healthy food. Good. You might also admit that Carnegie’s prices reflect a 50% subsidy from the City already. I don’t know the proportion at Potluck, but it’s probably similar. How much more subsidy do you want?

    Some of us have been to the VPD many times to demand better enforcement of the law against pimps and drug dealers. Have you? Pimps enslave women, and drug dealers enslave everyone. They are the enemies of the people. They are YOUR enemy, Page.

    VANDU says there are 7000 drug addicts in the DTES. They need detox, and they need recovery as far from the DTES as possible.

    You waste your time attacking pickles when you could be doing something positive for drug addicts. Strange priorities, Page. Very strange. And that’s why the Pidgin Picket is going nowhere. Not-Homeless Dave’s “hunger strike” has already been forgotten.

    You guys waste SO MUCH time in negative energy. Do something positive for the people, Page. Build your restaurant and they will come. Good luck!

  • Tom Servua

    A PS to Page: if you change your mind and decide to accept your own challenge, I bet that many of the people who read Scout would be happy to help you.

    Many readers have practical grounded experience in creating a restaurant. We don’t waste time complaining about other people failing to give us one. We spend all our time creating one ourselves.

    There is a LOT of practical knowledge here, Page. Tap into it. Use it. Save time and avoid mistakes. Use the readers of Scout to help you with a new “people’s restaurant” in the DTES. You will be amazed by the results.

    Good luck!

  • Tom Servua

    Another week has gone by, and still no sign of positive work from Page Turner or any of her pals on the Pidgin picket.

    It’s her sense of “hostile entitlement” that betrays any hope for positive change in the DTES. They have time to attack donut shops. They have the means to paint and vandalize the cop shop. They have the energy to yell at a restaurant and whine about a menu.

    But when it’s time to actually DO something, these people are nowhere to be found. They could organize a housing co-op, and build the units they say they need. But no. They want government to do it for them.

    They could organize a “people’s restaurant”, but they want somebody else to do all the work.

    They could even protest the drug dealers and the pimps that have ruined so many lives in the DTES, but they prefer to look the other way. “It’s not my job,” they tell us.

    When these picketers are prepared to work together to build co-op housing, and a ‘people’s restaurant’, good things will happen.

    But as long as Page and her Pidgin pals complain about others not giving them what they say is their ‘entitlement’, nothing will ever be achieved.

    And that’s why the DTES stays the way it does, destroying lives every day of the year….. If it’s worth having, Page, it’s worth working for.

  • Tom Servua

    Now three weeks have gone by, and absolutely nothing has been achieved by the perpetual complainers of the Pidgin picket.

    When challenged to picket the drug dealers and pimps, they claim that “it’s not my job”.

    When challenged to create their own “people’s restaurant”, people like Page Turner complain that they are already working 8 hours a day and just don’t have time. She seems unaware that, in the restaurant business, 12 hours a day are the norm. Naturally, she wants somebody else to put in the extra hours so that she can enjoy a “people’s restaurant that will hire ME” at the end.

    When challenged to get out and BUILD a housing co-op and construct the social housing units they “demand”, people like Page and her fellow picketers disappear faster than Robyn Claire Pickell. Work scares them more than the cops do.

    If these people truly want what they say they are “entitled” to have, they need to learn the value of hard work, good organizing, and long term effort.

    Until then, they are whining in the wind, and getting exactly what they have earned.

  • Nicholas Ellan

    See you on the street, Tom.

  • Tom Servua

    When I picket, Nick, it is at the most visible centre of explicit power that we can locate. Anything less is a fool’s errand and a magician’s trick: mis-direction. Power is always, always grateful when we picket the wrong place.

    If housing is the issue, local authority is exercised at BC Housing, Gore and Hastings. You might prefer their regional office: Suite 1701 – 4555 Kingsway . Neither sells pickles.

    Politically, it makes sense to picket at Cambie and 12th, another site of real power. Similarly, it would be smart to picket the Premier’s business and cabinet offices in Downtown Vancouver. She’s in Suite 740 at 999 Canada Place.

    Many would join if your site was politically sensible and tactically mature.

    Your picketing of a small restaurant in the DTES is neither, which is why you have so little support. In a DTES community of 17,000, you average NINE picketers every night. That’s less than 0.05294%. And that’s pitiful.

    Eve the people who live at Pigeon Park find you so irrelevant that they cannot be bothered to walk ten paces to join you. You have no impact on their lives at all.

    And that’s why the vast majority of DTES residents are simply ignoring you.

    “The streets”, you say. Indeed, Nick. The streets of power. They lie some distance from the place you waste your time.

    BTW, the people who actually occupy places of power are delighted that you picket the wrong place. It serves their interests that you ignore them. One day, you will understand this. Or so one can hope.

  • Art Critic

    Even if Ivan was right he would still possess a revolting personality that turns almost everyone he meets against him.

    Can someone track down and post some of his poetry or pop punk band so we can better understand his failures as a human being.

  • CJP

    Looks like Cuchillo is in for a rough ride.

  • http://www.sentriccleaning.com Len

    I can’t wait till the restaurant opens. These guys are honest individuals who will end up employing 30+ people in the hospitality industry. Those managers, servers, bartenders, cooks and dishwashers will have meaningful employment able to support themselves and their families. I would imagine that they have chosen this location because it is an incredible spot. For those individuals who think it is based on rent – think again.

    Welcome to the neighborhood!

    Len Nakonechny

  • CJP

    “Those managers, servers, bartenders, cooks and dishwashers will have meaningful employment able to support themselves and their families”

    Unlikely. Restaurant jobs in this city generally pay shamefully low wages and salaries – no where near enough to support a family of any size. Tips do not count.

  • http://www.sentriccleaning.com Llen

    Speaking from experience – with over 25 years in the industry – putting myself through colleg – supporting a family – going from living on the DTES to buying a home in Port Moody – to owning my own company – hiring great people so they can have full time employment.

    That is the most ridiculous comment that tips don’t count. How about the single parent that supports a family working at Demnys or Boston Pizza that makes wage plus $100 a day in tips. Shorter shifts and good pay. The industry allows flexible schedules. The hospitality industry is one of the largest players in the world. It’s the perfect industry to make a good living.

    The average restaurant makes little or no money. That’s a fact. Those people who think they are living in luxury while they pay ‘low’ wages are naive.

    I wish all the best to Cuchillo. I know my family will be supporting them!

    Len

  • CJP

    Please note: “restaurants jobs in this city GENERALLY pay shamefully low wages and salaries…”

    There are exceptions, but not many.

    Tips are a subsidy. Owners who can not or will not pay living wage to both front of house and back of house should not be in business. The alternative is different forms of compensation – gainsharing or cooperatives for example. This solves the dilemma of restaurants being unable to provide stable, well paying jobs.

  • http://www.sentriccleaning.com Len

    I like your ideas about employee partnerships and coop model. Haven’t seen it but it may work.

    I still want you and others to understand that restaurant owners don’t make a lot of money. Usually less than the staff. They do it because it is a passion.

    Len

  • Tom Servua

    The Pidgin picket is falling apart. Even their own pals are rejecting them. Tonight, at 7:40pm, the Downtown Eastside Neighbourhood Council issued the following statement:

    “DNC statement on the Pidgin Protest
    The DNC shares many of the goals of the anti-gentrification protesters, but feels that the specific actions in front of 350 Carrall St. have served their purpose. The DNC therefor disagrees with the continuation of this action, and calls on the protesters to move on.”

    These picketers have no end plan, no support, and now even the DNC has turned on them. What a joke.

  • Paul D

    CJP. What world do you live in? Tips DO count. They are not a subsidy as much as you’d like to wish them to be so to make the World conform to your ideology.

    Your statement “Owners who can not or will not pay living wage to both front of house and back of house should not be in business” excludes over 90% of non-catering operations. Are they ALL unfit to run a business? Even the ones who have ethically and honestly run restaurants for decades based upon our currently cultural tipping model? How are you so qualified and superior that you get to make that judgement?

    It’s one thing to speak out against our current payment and tipping model, which I agree could use some significant change. It”s another thing to insult an entire industry which employs, supports and rewards a large segment of our working population.

  • Eleanor

    According to Not-Homeless Dave, Cuchillo is the next target for picketing. Judging by Pidgin, that should guarantee success!

  • John Thomass

    “A cheap holiday in other peoples misery”

    I own a cab in Vancouver I have done so for more than twenty years.

    Vancouver has become a soulless dog turd wrapped in tinfoil. Tourists that I deal with everyday increasingly hate the place.

    They hate the lack of diversity, they hate Yaletown, they hate the corporate sports bars and they especially hate the sadness and misery of the ever increasing homeless population.

    “It just a boring, sad little city if it were not for the views of the ocean and the mountains there would be nothing here at all”.

    So keep going, put another glitzy bauble on the dying Christmas tree because when the prices of things keep going up and the city gets more and more bland, the tourist dollars will stop coming. Other more interesting places have these things too. (I love Portland because of their art gallery and Powell,s books.)

    Oh and another thing, I would be willing to bet an equivalent amount of drugs sales and prostitution occurs in Yaletown. The traffic in the towers is sizable, you just don’t notice because people are better dressed and do not suffer from visible mental illness.

    The drugs are different E, meth, powder cocaine, GHB,but lets not get moralistic and self righteous and pretend that substance abuse only happens in the DTES.

    And as for you Mister Robertson you pathetic corporate suck up, dust off the resume and don’t let the door hit you on the ass.