DINER | Mt. Pleasant’s “Rumpus Room” To Shut Down To Make Room For New Condos

March 10, 2014.


by Andrew Morrison | Rumpus Room co-owner Rachel Zottenberg announced on Facebook today that she and business partner David Duprey had lost a lengthy scrap to keep their Main St. restaurant, which was known for its laid back attitude, 70’s-inspired decor, deep fried pickles, and flamingo-strewn patio. Their staff were told the bad news earlier today.

So I’m writing this with the most heaviest f$%&ing heart in my life. After the most brutal battle, we are being kicked out of the Rumpus Room at the end of the month. Condos.. right.. you’ve heard this all before. Yay for the new Main Street. Good for you. I LOVE THIS PLACE. This, my first restaurant. This, the place I opened with my best friend in the world David Duprey […] This wonderful wonderful place. I’m going to miss you so much!

The allusion to a future of “condos” at the address – a prime piece of Mount Pleasant real estate – will come, I’m sure, as a surprise to no one. “We occupy a piece of land that is worth a lot more than a little restaurant,” Zottenberg reminded me this afternoon, adding that the eatery will remain open for another month before calling it quits.

UPDATE | It should be noted that it was my understanding that the owners were aware of this eventuality/possibility by way of a “demolition clause” in their lease, so if I’m not mistaken this should not have come as a complete surprise.

  • Bill Murray

    Sad news :(

  • Sam


  • http://www.change.org/en-CA/petitions/vancouver-mayor-gregor-robertson-stop-the-demolition-of-the-rumpus-room Glyn

    A petition has been started to voice opposition to demolition of the Rumpus Room — and the loss of so much social and cultural space in our city.


  • A

    Bout time they rid of this awfull dump .

    Service was horible just as the day old coffee that served us .

    Happy new Main Street !

  • sean

    Vancondo strikes again. Really sick of real estate agents dictating how the residents of this city live and build their communities. It’s a scandal, one our municipal politicians should be held accountable for.

  • Greg

    Seems fishy to me. One can’t simply be ‘kicked out’ of a tenancy. Either the Landlord is acting by the terms of the lease Rumpus Room signed or they don’t have to leave. If it’s the former, and I imagine it is, then blaming ‘condos’ and all they may represent isn’t fair at all.

  • Bobby California

    I read on the internet that vancouver has a severe condo shortage you guys.

  • Steve

    well, it’s true that the little corner resto hadn’t a prayer, anymore than did the groovy rundown just West on 11th. All the same, does *every* single square foot of Vancouver have to have a condo stack on it? The developers certainly think so, but who voted for them? Once the entire lower mainland looks like False Creek East, who’ll be happy then?

  • Doug

    I’m not sorry to see the place go either. Deep fried pickles aren’t my thing. I’ll be cheering when the wrecking ball demolishes that horrific patio.

  • Dan

    That place isn’t big enough to grow a condo on with height restriction if 6 stories. It must be more places than the Dumpus Doom.

  • Mike

    Main is already dead, in case you didn’t notice. Does anyone actually hang out there anymore? The last time I walked up the street to grab some dog food I was shocked by the amount of yuppie parents with strollers…

  • Karma

    @doug I’ll be cheering when your shitty glass condo collapses on top of your worthless head

  • Steve

    Well, Mike, we don’t get to preserve our youthful places in aspic so that they stay cool forever. After a few years, in your 20s and 30s, the people you hung with move on (or else they don’t, which is a whole entire other thing). West 4th in Kits was stroller row in the early 80s, only 5 to 10 years after its 60s heyday wound down, and that title was bequeathed to Commercial Drive in the 90s, and during those years, nobody hung on Main Street that I can recall. Coming in 5 years, Fraser and King Edward, Hastings and Clarke, and anywhere on Kingsway.

    People have kids, and when they do, they have to live somewhere. Of course, that doesn’t mean that the entire city should be paved with 500,000$ dorm-rooms in the sky. The point is not to resist change, but to direct it. The places where “anyone actually hangs out” are, in their nature transient.

  • Kent

    Condos are filing cabinets for people, Disgusting. See you later Vancouver.

  • Scout Magazine

    If I’m not mistaken, there was a demo clause in their lease.

  • http://dimdimdimdumdim.com dim

    When 20+ percent of all condos in the city are owned by people who DON’T EVEN LIVE IN CANADA you run into issues where downtown businesses have less customers(because less people live downtown), LOCAL CANADIANS are priced out of living in the city centre and housing prices skyrocket. Canada needs to address this problem before it ruins any more of the city and causes more distress for its inhabitants.

    I am an American and even I can see this happening to Vancouver.

  • Jonna

    Regardless of whether you like the food, or cherish the service, the Rumpus Room employs about 20-25 of our citizens, and furthermore, speaks volumes to independent business and service ventures in our city.

    If you’ve ever had an opportunity to meet Rachel, you would certainly shed a tear, then eat some deep fried food, drink a custom caesar, and take to the streets to picket against yet another case of greedy condo development and gentrification of a real niche in our city.

    On the other hand, I’m sure that the building is dying a slow death to “Vancouver Plague”, and the upkeep and maintenance is more than the property manager can handle. Let’s not blame him/her for selling out to the highest bidder when his options were to a) keep a cultural institution going or b) make money and retire. To be honest, the building is pretty scummy. No matter how much money he/she puts into it, there’s always going to be structural issues and plumbing emergencies, not to mention, and i won’t mention it – (critters).

    Anyway, what if the RR closed down for a few months while the condo dudes built a swinging new set up? What if, they specifically built a suite on the ground floor for a hip-happening restaurant like the Rumpus Room!? What if, they offered that space to the RR for the SAME RENT that they’d been paying for the first space, for let’s say 3-5 years of tenancy? Wouldn’t that be a cool way for condo developers to win over the hearts of hipsters? Wouldn’t that support local business and sustainability while encouraging growth and economy to our Main Street economy?

    Just a thought.

  • Soledad

    Jonna, you took the words right out of my mouth!

  • Beast

    Hire servers that actually know what service means.
    Sucks when you work hard for something you believe in, only to have someone tear it apart because they’re fucking dicks…….karma.

  • A

    Cheap rent another dump ? Main Street needs to rid if garbage . 25 employees for a 30 seat dive , prob not , and the turn around of employees is more like 5 .

    Why doesn’t the owner of the rr go move to another location instead of crying oh poor me
    Look what they are doin to me Unnn why don’t you buy the building then .. ?
    Do something about .

  • Dario

    @ Jonna who wrote, “what if the RR closed down for a few months while the condo dudes built a swinging new set up? What if, they specifically built a suite on the ground floor for a hip-happening restaurant like the Rumpus Room!? ”
    What colour is the sky in your world? There’s optimism and then there’s full-bore delusion. Outside of Hollywood movie fantasies, where is the precedent for these altruistic condo developers of which you speak? Within 5 years the plot where the Rumpus Room now sits is going to match its soulless neighbours with the Tim Hortons a block away.

  • Glyn

    Feels like anything that has charm, is unique, and trying to bring art, culture and community to Vancouver is under a demolition clause.

    The petition just cracked 600 signatures — in less than 12 hours:


  • Scout Magazine

    “Feels like”? What is this “feels like”?

  • Ripley

    Meh, not the end of the world. There are plenty of other good restaurants in the neighbourhood, and food trucks now show up at 33 Acres and Brassneck all the time. I’ll take those over the Rumpus Room any day.

    Mount Pleasant is a pretty great place to live, and unsurprisingly more people want to live here because of it. More housing is the only viable way to accomplish that.

  • Glyn

    Scout Magazine — I encourage you to read the public statements at the bottom of the online petition. Over 100 people have left really compelling comments.

    It’s a testament to how important this space was to the neighbourhood and the greater community.

    There’s also a very common thread that too much that is unique, creative, community-driven is being shut-down or demolished to make way for…drum roll…more Vancouver condo development.

  • Glyn

    Also, let’s be honest about the control and influence developers have over city council. It’s little wonder why our city is being gutted by development…

    Lunch, anyone? Vancouver condo king invites $25,000-per-person donations to Vision Vancouver:

  • Scout Magazine

    So…nevermind the fact that these guys signed a lease that guaranteed the impermanence of their endeavour and sign this petition anyway? I’ll pass and save the effort and ink for a battle that doesn’t have its left flank so illogically exposed. Don’t get me wrong, Glyn, I’m all for the preservation of community and unique spaces for creative people to do their thing. I’m not a big fan of condo developers or the high cost of living. I also adore Rachel Zottenberg and David Duprey and think they are tremendous assets to the cultural fabric of this city. It’s just that the end of the Rumpus Room was set at the beginning of the Rumpus Room, and that’s something that all parties were very aware of. Other restaurateurs passed on the space because of this reason. So to say “well, that’s besides the point”, cry havoc and let loose the petitions just feels a little disingenuous, like protesting the puddles for the rain. I’m on your side, but you’ve lost me here.

  • Glyn

    Scout — The Fox, Cascade, and so many other small businesses that form a huge part of our neighbourhood have demolition clauses.

    It’s a matter of time until these spaces get flipped and demolished for more condos. There’s too much profit to be had. And yet, the local residents and community will lose out time and again.

    So here’s a starting point for dialogue. If we agree we value small businesses that act as community hubs and that add greatly to the creative and cultural life of our city — what can be done to protect them from being forced out, demolished, and re-developed?

    How do we build, while preserving that which has community value?

  • Doug

    @karma. I don’t live in a Yaletown glass condo friend. I live on Main St, in a brick condo. Hipster doofus.

  • Greg

    Pretty dangerous wish to have a petition or a local government circumventing the freedom that is the right of someone in this country. The owner of that building has quite likely owned it for a long time and now is making the perfectly legal choice to develop his or her property. There’s absolutely nothing wrong with that.

    Sure, many buildings have demo clauses, but if the owners of RR signed a lease with a demo clause that would take effect after just two years, then they knew full well what they were getting themselves in to and shouldn’t be pointing fingers. In fact, they likely got a good deal because of the short term tenancy and it would be in poor taste to now use it as a way to drum up public sympathy. Maybe they had the foresight to request first right of refusal on the retail space of the new building. Maybe they didn’t.

  • David Duprey

    this is a larger conversation about the future of our city. we signed a deal and i can live with it. no one is crying foul. this is a larger conversation about the future of our city. every lease i come across now has a demo Claus. yes the fox has one and the narrow and the new artist space we just crated at 108 east hastings. landlords put them in because vancouver prices have been and continue to go up and up. its crazy and every one knows it. i cant blame my landlord for cashing in on millions for a building thats not worth it. the question is do we want to live in a city where we cant suport small interesting businesses because it too expensive to operate. in talking about businesses that make our city fun and unique, basically all the business that are listed here in scout. Do we want to have a million browns and barns and nobles or do we want a million vancouver specials, rumpus rooms and ? i like fun and unique. what do you like?

  • Winifred

    “Small and interesting” businesses need to operate within the reality of the business world. Hopefully Rumpus Room can relocate to a similar location and serve the same charm that has attracted the many patrons who are upset.

    Quite silly to say that it’s been a battle when the clause was set from the start. Is that not crying foul? Simply pointing blame at condos is the same excuse that every other dimwit has for not pulling themselves up.

    Best wishes for a more stable future derived from consistently good food, service, and business planning.

  • Ripley

    @David Clearly the latter, but it’s not 100% clear what the best solution is.

    Preventing more people from moving to Mount Pleasant isn’t a great one. I would suggest rezoning to allow more commercial properties in the neighbourhood, on streets other than Main. It’s sad to see restaurants and bars all relegated to Main Street, nobody wants to eat on a patio next to heavy traffic.

  • Scout Magazine

    Ah, but Ripley…the NIMBYs of Mount Pleasant are no different than the NIMBYs in any other Vancouver neighbourhood. They wouldn’t stand for a liquor license recessed from the high street.

  • Norm

    Before the Rompus Room opened and the space was empty – I inquired about leasing the space – the realtor told me immediately that it was slated for condo redevelopment within six months. I don’t know how long ago that was now – but it was the FIRST thing they told me before I even inquired about the cost.

  • Ripley

    Good point. Hopefully when (if? it’s taking forever!) the Main St. Brewing Company opens at 7th and Scotia that will provide some precedent for more off-Main establishments.

  • Pedro Jimenez

    Let’s all just accept that the demo clause is the only reason that this particular business existed in the first place. There is no chance that Rachel and David would have taken on this project had they been required to pay fair market value. They made a calculated risk that the added profits made over the short term were worth losing a lovely business before it was ready to die. I’m sure Rachel was only mentioning her sadness over seeing such a big part of her life go before she was ready to see it go.

    Also, the place was a shithole.

  • 1Buser

    Obviously, we are in need of rent controls here (GREATer Vancouver – not just Vancouver) mostly for residents but also for small businesses. The inequity that turns to just ugliness – everything is just either a dump (I live in a quasi dump) or it’s 440 sq. foot lifeless concrete. The lack of affordable rentals just for seniors alone is criminal.
    Yeah, I didn’t like this resto really either, but that’s not entirely what is going on in this city.

  • Greg



    time to take responsibility for your choices

  • Ripley

    Looks like the Rumpus Room is being replaced by rental housing, not condos: http://globalnews.ca/news/1201548/rumpus-room-eviction-symbolic-of-main-street-changes/

    Might want to update this article!

  • resident

    Well.. before the Rumpus Room even moved into this building there used to be a chinese fried chicken joint.. oh.. about 4 years ago. Nobody seemed to care when a development permit sign went up and the Chinese Chicken Joint shuttered. Now, 4 years later, the owner of the property is doing what he is entitled to do.. and that is develop the property so he can make money to pay the fricken taxes on the property that obviously the monthly lease that the Rumpus Room is paying isn’t covering. Not to mention.. the shuttered convenience store next to the Rumpus Room is covered in graffiti and full of rats. You really want to eat there? no thanks. tear this pile of 1970’s crap down. The building is an eyesore. so is that pink roller derby building. At least that had some semblance of heritage.

  • George Baugh

    The Fried Chicken place is gone! Oh, the horror, the horror! And whatever happened to the Yong Yong Tree?

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