The third location of vegan chainlet MeeT is currently under construction at 1165 Mainland Street in Yaletown. Industry observers might recognize it as a bit of a daunting, possibly haunted address. In the last decade it has been home to such fallen forgettables like The Hub and Browns Social House. Can MeeT make it work?
I think they have a better chance than their predecessors. Their success in Gastown surprised me; they found a way to make the old Boneta space work after the short-lived Shirakawa couldn’t (it lasted all of one year). Their Main Street location is also gangbusters busy. Many of my vegetarian friends wax drooly over its comfort food menu, and though I’m not a vegetarian and thus have never found equal joy in the selections beyond a few dishes (eg. highly addictive chili-glazed cauliflower), I certainly get the appeal.
There is an ever-growing strata of the populace – vegetarians and vegans – with few scratch options for their “guilty pleasure” itches. Of course, creatively, it’s not in the same league as, say, The Acorn, but I still appreciate the zealotry of their casual, psychological approach to the milieu, mining as they do a movement’s yen for the saccharine and the familiar with sharp picks and shovels of meatless nachos and poutine.
They took possession of the 2,400 sqft space back in November. Construction has come a long way since. During my walkthrough yesterday I got a little dizzy from the flashback whiplash of having been in the exact same space through its many iterations. The basic footprint and body count remains the same with seats for 100 inside and another 50 out on the heated sidewalk patio. That doesn’t mean it will look the same, of course. Far from it.
Where the clamshell booths used to be are now a series of picnic table style booths. The huge, U-shaped bar – once grotesquely dominated by the blue light of too many television screens – is being dressed anew with 20 seats. The expanse of the dining room will see a feature wall for rotating works of art above the incoming banquette and wooden chevron panelling — something you can also see at the Main St. location. The kitchen – the one core constant – remains as voluminous as ever with a sweeping service window view of the action.
The menu, I’m told, will be the same as the other locations with a few special add-ons, so expect tempting burgers, bowls, cronuts, mojitos and so on. They have this stuff pretty well dialled, so I feel confident in saying we can anticipate affordable, cosseting tastiness when it softly opens in mid-February. Take a closer look at how things are coming along below…
UPDATE: The original version of this post incorrectly had LK Dining Lounge, Charlies and Pinkys as other unsuccessful restaurants associated with this address. I apologize for the error.