What was the most ambitiously inappropriate name for a restaurant in local memory? Master Chef, of course, at 2481 East Hastings. It was owned by May and Tony Fung, a charming couple who cooked and served well into their 80s.
Master Chef was one of Vancouver’s last redoubts of inconsequential (but irony-free) diner fare, so when the Hastings-Sunrise institution shuttered last Fall, not a few locals worried for its squat swivel stools and burgundy vinyl booths. With new developments creeping into the neighbourhood, they’d be forgiven for suspecting it might become a cool kid boutique or Macked specialty coffee shop…
Instead, the 900 sqft space was picked up by Matt and Jenna Hagarty, who’ve spent the last few months toiling hard to turn the place into What’s Up? Hot Dog! — a super casual hot dog and beer joint. What to expect? Think wings, burgers, waffle fries, and eight different hot dogs, among them the Hanzai (a pork dog topped with pickled ginger, wasabi mayo, creamy sriracha and tempura crunch) and the Holy Mole (chicken mole-topped dog topped with tropical salsa and salsa verde). They’ll also have a variety of vegan/vegetarian options, including marinated carrot dogs.
Matt and Jenna have lots of ideas and are down with experimentation, which is awesome to see considering neither of them comes from a restaurant background (Matt is a former Canada Post employee and Jenna has been studying forestry conservation at UBC). What is plain to see is that they’re up to their elbows in the place, and committed to the core.
As told in the shots below, they still have their work cut out from them if they’re going to be able to open on time in the first week of April. Take a peek. Aside from rebuilding the kitchen and a new counter for the long bar, they have to build a new washroom (to get their liquor license). The good news? The pinball machine and jukebox are for real, and they’re keeping the swivel stools and the booths.