The ever-evolving Restaurant Graveyard series looks back at the countless, long-shuttered establishments that helped to propel Vancouver’s food and drink forward. Full A-Z with maps and photos here. May they never be forgotten!
When restaurants close, the spaces they leave behind are – more often than not – used as restaurants again. When they are replaced by businesses from completely different industries, it…well, it kind of hurts. This typically doesn’t occur when the address comes with hood vents, walk-in coolers, an industrial dishwasher and appropriate plumbing, but still…old banks, factories, warehouses, even ships are converted into restaurants. It’s not supposed to be the other way around. So when a place like Dunlevy Snackbar closes and its successor is a midwives clinic, it’s a bit of a head shaker, even if it never had a hood vent, a walk-in cooler, an industrial dishwasher or appropriate plumbing. It had a liquor license, and that’s alright.
Don’t get me wrong. I love midwives. I’ve been on the receiving end of their good works and have the greatest respect for what they do, but if you were to ask me which I’d prefer to have around the corner from my house, an interesting restaurant or a midwives clinic, I’d plead the 5th. It’s done, anyway. Dunlevy Snackbar is closed and has been for a few years. But it is by no means forgotten.
The unassuming 16 seater was opened in an old beauty salon (see!) by first-timer Theo Lloyd-Kohls in 2010. Back then the offerings were skeletal (just coffee and baked goods) but over time they grew to include hot items like Korean pancakes, excellent burgers, fermented black bean inari and bibimbap. Oh, and booze too! Alexandra Gill pondered of it thusly:
“I wonder if this is what the original Momofuku felt like, back before David Chang’s noodle bar in New York’s East Village exploded into an empire.”
Despite good reviews, it closed in 2015.
Perhaps the coolest thing about Dunlevy Snackbar was its wayward evolution. It was always changing. Every time I saw Theo he would tell me about how he was going to test this and try that. Perhaps his enthusiasm unwittingly but ultimately resulted in the little restaurant’s undoing, but I always really liked to see where it was going, and often imagine what it would be like now.
These photos show its progression over time…