SEEN IN VANCOUVER #424: Hell’s Kitchen Shuttering In Kits A Case Of Abandonment?

January 24, 2013.

The natural consequence of a dozen really good pizzerias opening in Vancouver within a couple of years of each other? Some of the old (and especially the shitty) ones whither and die. Exhibit C: Hell’s Kitchen pizzeria at 2401 West 4th Ave has “closed its doors permanently”. This happened a few days ago, apparently to the financial dismay of many (image found via Reddit).

UPDATE: A few people have commented below or contacted me directly to say that all is not as it seems with this note, specifically that it was written by the landlord. What’s more, several letters of support from staff/suppliers that were taped over the note have reportedly been taken down. So take it with a grain of salt.


  • sam payne

    Probably worth investigating the landlord’s involvement in this instead of just assuming the owners screwed everybody…just a thought

  • Scout Magazine

    We assume nothing save for it being a clusterfuck.

  • sam payne


  • sam payne

    fair and agreed that the whole thing comes across as a clusterfuck. However, the image posted still only tells some part/version of a story….and from an anonymous source…who is to say what parts on that note are true? I know we got paid…one person posts one note, tells part of a story …the next note was about how great hells was and was taken down by the landlord…. tough ….

  • Julia

    The image posted is a picture of a sign/document that is on the inside of the building. Therefore it has been written and posted by the landlord who could now be found guilty of libel……..

  • James

    This picture doesn’t tell the story of a crass, avaricious landlord that got away with raising the rent so unreasonably that it ruined a well-operated business. I commiserate with my friends on their loss.

  • Julia

    The For Lease sign is already up and I believe the rent is around $20,000 (it was doubled in December) . Ridiculous that commercial landlords have so much power and the lack of rules regarding rent increases.

  • Jennifer

    This is a blatant gossip piece rather than well thought out journalism stating facts. Oooh! Did you hear?! Hell’s Kitchen closed and they ripped off everyone in their wake! Wake up. Clearly the Landlord has some pretty big balls to post such a slanderous piece on the front window. And on the inside so nobody can take it down. Nice. Or perhaps it’s not his balls that are big, but rather his ego which was deflated when these guys decided enough was enough and had to sadly walk away after fighting him at every turn trying to keep their business afloat. The owners: Solid, honest businessmen? Yes. Hardworking industry folk? Yes. Caught in an unfortunate situation with a crooked landlord? Absolutely. Retraction required on Scout’s previous snide comments? Appropriate to say the least.

    I can speak to this as someone who did business with them and had nothing but pleasant experiences right up until the end. You shall be truly missed.

  • Scout Magazine

    Hmm. Just to be clear, this was an observational post highlighting a found image, and that’s all (hence the “Seen In Vancouver” title and the absence of any real exposition other than my opinion on the restaurant’s standing amongst other local pizzerias). We do that on occasion. If what is being said about the landlord is true, that’s pretty nasty.

  • Andi Quote

    sharing the sign/sentiment widely on your site seems to endorse the unfounded allegation (whether you do or not). if it is a libellous claim, adding to the dogpile by posting it here isn’t helping anyone. based on the comments above that seem valid, is it really worth sharing this image (and allegations) to a wider audience, the longer it stays up here? if someone posted something awful and untrue about you on your front door, i’m sure you could appreciate the pov of those who don’t support your posting of this.

    just seems a little like schadenfreude on scout’s part, never a commendable thing

  • Andrew Morrison

    Ugh. I keep hearing more from the inside on this. The landlord sounds like a REAL piece of work. My condolences to all involved.

  • Scout Magazine

    FWIW, we’ve heard tell that the landlord hiked the rent up from $13k to $22k. Ouch.

  • Courtney

    I can safely say the men who owned and operated Hell’s Kitchen were hard working industry boys, and have burned absolutely no bridges with suppliers or staff. Everyone involved has landed safely on their feet.

    This note says leagues about the landlord and absolutely nothing about the owners.

    There is publicity to be expected involving situations like this. But the last sting comes from people posting this picture. There will never be anything to justify what this note says. If one wishes to commiserate, the appropriate response would be to take this photo down.

  • Scout Magazine

    I respectfully disagree, Courtney. The post has been amended/updated and comments have been made that reflect a version of events that is different from the one in the photo. The least appropriate response would be to censor the image or “take it down”. Let it stand for what it is.

  • Mr Paywall

    Since everyone here seems to be dumping on Scout, I’ll just say that when presented with more information they did the right thing and updated the post.

  • CB

    Perhaps a coordinated effort on the part of a supplier or two and some staff etc. to repost their notes of support. Suppliers: don’t be shy to sign them – and then reshoot this before the inevitable take-down….

  • Scout Magazine

    Or they could post them right here.

  • sully

    or you could just take this down and let the land lord and owners work out their beef privately or you guys should start a section in scout called the ‘Gossip Section’ where everybody can talk smack about each other. Lots of options.

  • Manuel

    It came to my attention last night, about the gossiping of the terrible landlord of Hell’s Kitchen.

    I AM THE LANDLORD….so, I have to respond to the assholes that badmouthed me.

    The partners bought Hell’s Kitchen in February 2011 from Mark that had run this restaurant very profitably.

    In January 2012, we had a meeting as they were killing the business. I was asked for a rent deduction and I gave them a deduction of $4,500.00 a month…..that’s how bad I was……

    In August 2012, they had killed the business almost completely and I gave them another rent deduction. The rent came down to $10,000.00 a month with a month to month lease for a 4,500 square feet restaurant on 4th Avenue!!!!

    I have the lease that was drawn FROM THEIR LAWYER for $10,000.00 per month rent NOT $20,000.00….to your, disposal assholes…to prove how terrible landlord I am……

    January 15, 2013, they fucked-off leaving me $85,000.00 IN DEBT. I did not close them. I can close them only thru a Bailiff….as you can see there were no posts from Bailiff on the doors, showing their creditors.

    As a landlord, I am one of their many creditors…, I am not entitled solely to any possessions/equipment of the restaurant. I did not profit from the closure. On the contrary, I will lose months of rent until the place is leased again.

    It will be nice for the Hell’s Kitchen owners to respond in the event that I lie and not their ghost-writers that bad-mouthed me.

    If they continue that, I will be obligated to post my documents online as a proof.

    NOTE: In my derogatory words to “THEM”…does not include their Chef, as she is the most hardworking & dedicated person that I know

  • Rick

    Nice to hear the supposed landlord’s side of things, however Manuel, you still sound like an “A-hole” yourself, as you can’t write a reply to the article without swearing and badmouthing… you could have written a more professional piece to defend your position. Assuming you’re really the landlord and telling the truth, you’ kinda F*cked that up by being such a twat. Your signage on the door should have also been MUCH more professional. Just saying

  • Mr Paywall

    Not connected to either party so it’s hard to know who to believe.

    But that was the best part of reading the comments from the “friends of the HK owners”… on and on about gossiping, bad journalism, defamation, libel.. but most of them did the exact same thing in response to the landlord in their response.

    This deserves more investigation. With less accusations and more verified facts.


    Hell`s Kitchen was owned by a group of dedicated people.I know them personally.I won`t comment on the Landlord-Tenant issue because it`s none of my business.4th Avenue has changed alot in the last couple of years.There are “For Lease“signs everywhere.Rent is expensive.The economy is bad.I urge people not to jump to conclusions and slander the owners or the landlord.

  • Scott

    As a supplier of H.K, I can say they handled it like pro’s. They called me to let me know they had closed the doors, they had a plan in place for the small A.R. outstanding, and were proactive about the whole thing. During the time they were open, they never had a bill go unpaid. Just my side of it.

    I cannot speak to the Landlord side as I have no knowledge of that. That said, posting a notice like that on the front door does nothing to further the landlords’ financial situation with the owners, and so it is reasonable to infer that it was posted out of some petty combination of spite and vengeance. Just an observation.

  • Matt

    This comes as no surprise. With the advent of Groupon, TeamBuy, etc, many many more local businesses will face this same fate. What many consumers probably don’t know is that the business takes about a 75% cut on their prices by working with these companies. The company requires you to offer a minimum 50% discount for the offer, and then of the remaining 50% sell for price, the company keeps 50% of that as a commission. So, the merchant really gets 25% of their selling price. Why do it, you ask? Because your competitor across the street is doing, and the one down the road, and the one in the next block over. It is a race to the bottom, with service and food going downhill because the revenue is going downhill. The winner? The social shopping networks who collect your dollars all the while never having to build a business, pay a local supplier, or pay local taxes all the while employing almost no-one locally.

  • Ryan

    It occurs to me that people, and especially restauranteurs can be, hard working, dedicated, and ‘industry boys’ while at the same time not being capable of running a business successfully. Also, correct me if I’m wrong but even if the rent was increased significantly, in this business that generally involves a new lease being signed (operative word)…so if the agreed upon rent was not being paid, then the landlord is in fact the wronged party…even if he is a bit of a brat about it. In the end the story sounds familiar, new owners with great intentions and lots of energy, but without the capital to ride out the lean times. BTW I have counted myself as a ‘supplier’ mainly for the previous ownership, I would describe my dealings with the account as mixed…at best. My 2 cents.

  • Roustuhs holepie

    Groupon type deals are used almost exclusively by “consumer deadbeats”
    Almost all business owners that participated in a single groupon type promotion will never do so again.
    The promotion as pitched to owners is to eat the loses but see the long game by exposing your business to a raft of new customers..BUT the truth quickly becomes evident as most of these coupon deadbeats are the worst type of customer/client and the Biggest misnomer in all of it is these Cheapos DO NOT ever come back as a Repeat full paying customer. Instead they move on to their next big Cheapo score while leaving bad reviews online for the previous coupon experiences
    The Discount group coupon business model is already trending down rapidly and good riddance I say. As a business owner I can attest that the customer is not always right, but Groupo-Cheapos are always a real pain in the Balls

  • V Z

    I understand about the restaurant business, because I have one. Work 15 to 18 hours a day, 7 days a week and end of the month all money go to rent even I don’t have staff expect my partner work with FOC. Finally 95% of restaurant business are work for landlord and government taxes, except 5% those who are doing the business in own building. Good thing I can eat my food every day:)

  • Shirley

    What about my Hell’s Kitchen Groupon now, eh?

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