The good people behind Gastown’s The Birds and The Beets have secured the Roost Cafe location after its closure last week. With it, they will soon be launching the 23 seat Hunnybee Bruncheonette, a day-only restaurant with a 16 seat patio that will convert into a cocktail bar called Soap in the evenings.
I met with the team at the location last week as they were waiting to get the keys. Running left to right in the photo above, that’s chef Allison Dent, co-owners Sean Cunningham and Matthew Senecal-Junkeer, and Soap runner Tyson Davies. They don’t take full possession of the space until July 28th, and when they do they’ll launch the thing as a pop-up for The Birds and The Beets first while the Hunnybee and Soap concepts get ready to open, which likely won’t be until September.
This should be interesting. If you’re not already aware, The Birds and The Beets is a day-only operation that often hosts fun pop-ups in the evenings, particularly a cheeky little weekly Wednesday thing called Juice Bar. That’s how they’ll be rolling at Hunnybee, too, though Soap will operate nightly instead of a once a week.
Hunnybee will focus on scratch made, brunch-y items, some of which will employ ingredients made at The Birds and The Beeta (eg. bread, yogurt). Allison worked previously at Birds and she’s known Matthew long enough to be easily on the same page (they actually met many years ago at cooking school), so it’s fair to expect the food to be as strong as it is in Gastown.
You might remember Tyson from behind the bar at either Bao Bei, Tacofino or Calabash. The Englishman will take advantage of Roost’s existing 12am liquor license, making drinks that are fun, personal riffs on familiar classics. The menu at night will be snack-forward and completely separate from Huneybee’s line-up.
Basically, the border of Chinatown and Strathcona is getting two establishments in one, and it’s kind of a cool story as to why. The way I’ve heard it, when the space became available Matthew and Tyson both tried to take it over independent of one another. When Matthew was successful in snagging it, he found out about Tyson and his Soap concept and asked if he wanted to run it in the space at night. Boom. How cool is that?
Again, this will open as a Birds pop-up for a month or so before Hunnybee and Soap arrive. When they do open, expect to see a custom-arranged green/floral ceiling installation by the Wild Bunch and a few other cosmetic changes. Hunnybee will run from 7am to 3pm and Soap will open at 5pm with a late last call.