A new restaurant is opening on the main floor of the old Epicurean Cafe location at 1898 W. 1st Avenue in Kitsilano. The 35 seater will be called Cacao, and it will serve brunch/lunch every day and dinners on Thursday, Friday, and Saturday nights. It’s coming to us from the mother-daughter duo of Marcela and Andrea Ramirez, who have brought on chef Jefferson Alvarez (formerly Fraiche, Divino, Mosquito – currently Orchard & The Sea) to explore his penchant for “Progressive Latin” fare, which is to say modern takes on pabellon, toasted arepas, Brazilian BBQ, grilled octopus, ceviche and more with beer, cider, wine and cocktails to drink.
I did a walk-through of the space earlier this week and it was in the awkward phase of transition between one eatery and another. Marcela and Andrea bought the place six months ago and kept operating it as the Epicurean (a 23 year institution), making small changes and upgrades here and there until committing to the big “shut down and change” leap they’re in the midst of now. They’ll concentrate on the main floor (with 20 seat patio) at the start, but they could expand upstairs if need be. That would be great to see in a city that could always use more Latin fare, especially from the South American sphere. Opening day is set for mid-September.