Led by principal Lilliana L. De Cotiis, the team behind Coal Harbour’s Tableau Bar Bistro – executive chef Marc-Andre Choquette, chef Tret Jordan, lead bartender J.S. Dupuis and manager Steven Wright – are opening a second restaurant, this time in Yaletown in the ancient Homer Cafe classic diner location (just across the street from Subeez).
When I say “ancient”, I’m talking in Vancouver years. The Homer Building at Smithe & Homer celebrates its 100th birthday in 2013, which is to say that it’s old enough for a history that stretches back beyond the Homer Cafe, with its famous pair of eggs with sausages and toast for $3.95. Prior to the humble Homer, it was the Stratos Cafe, and before that it was Rose’s Coffee Shop. Before that it was Pauline’s Cafe, and before that it was the Smithe Coffee Bar. Peel the layers back past the 1950’s and you’ll find a Japanese candy store, a cleaners, a grocery, a barber shop, and so on. It was always a community hub of some sort. You can see it in its bones.
Fast forward to the Fall of 2008, when The Homer underwent the knife. The major facelift, retrofit and rebrand was completed in the Fall of 2011 (you might remember the aged facade braced in glossy developer wrap marketing the place as “Yaletown’s last opportunity”). It’s now called The Beasley after former city planner Larry Beasley, and exists as the heritage foot forward and namesake of a brand new neighbouring 33 storey condo tower. To my knowledge, the only facet of the new development that has yet to be completed is the restaurant space, which was leased this past Fall.
De Cotiis et al have yet to reveal the name of the restaurant, which is slated to open at some point this summer. The food concept is also being kept a secret. For now all I can say is that it won’t be another Tableau Bar Bistro, which is fine by me. However much I might love that restaurant (and boy, do I ever), it’s important to remember that Marc-Andre Choquette is one of the best chefs in western Canada (Rob Feenie’s right hand man at Lumiere during its prime), one whose range is hardly tested by the classic French bistro milieu of moules and steak frites. It would be awesome if he let loose on a different, more innovative tack. But beggars can’t be choosers. At this early stage only one thing is for certain: whatever Choquette cooks, I’ll want to try it.