by Andrew Morrison | I certainly didn’t know it at the time, but Corner Suite was doomed from the start, what with the year-long delay in opening, early dissolution of the ownership group, and pre-natal exit of its talented young chef, Anthony Sedlak, who bowed out less than a week before D-Day. Articles have been written in the past about the address – 850 Thurlow St. – being cursed, but the story of this particular tenant, brief though it is, might have less to do with predetermined destiny and a lot more to do with the industry being hard, unsympathetic, and especially indifferent to relationships.
Corner Suite – which closed not even a year after it opened back in early 2010 – was launched by restaurant veterans-turned-refugees Steve Da Cruz (also formerly The Parker, Big Trouble) and Andre MacGillivray (also formerly Boneta, Wolf In The Fog). Neither, to my knowledge, are still working in the trade. If I’m not mistaken, the latter is now enjoying a form of halcyon exile on Vancouver Island, while the former appears to have been soundly seduced by the dark side (Vancouver real estate sales). Only Sedlak’s successor in the endeavour, chef Jason Leizert, is still going strong, albeit several hundred kilometres away in the Okanagan.
In any event, their restaurant was, for the most part, as well reviewed as it was hyped up in advance. Aside from the assembled talent, I remember the strikingly beautiful long bar, the gleaming black tables, and the bright blue chairs. It was undeniably an original, and it looked as if it had everything going for it from the start.
To give you an idea of its opening promise, here’s an interview with a 26 year old Anthony shot six months before Corner Suite launched without him. He would take his own life just before Christmas in 2012, ingesting intentionally excessive amounts of cocaine and oxycontin alone in his North Shore apartment. He was such a fierce talent, and he had such a great sense of humour. So sad…
Of course, the address that swallowed up Piccolo Mondo and Saveur didn’t even stop chewing Corner Suite before it ate Dale MacKay’s Ensemble. As to how many restaurants it has since consumed, I do not know. If the building is ever knocked down to make way for more condos Vancouverites can’t afford, I know there will be no shortage of demolition volunteers.
To jog your memory of the joint, here are some shots I took over the arc of Corner Suite’s construction and menu development, plus its opening week exactly five years ago: