The GOODS from Chambar
Vancouver, BC | The award-winning Chambar restaurant is looking to add line cooks to the team for both AM and PM shifts now that business is underway at the new Beatty St. location (next door to the original). All interested parties with experience should their resumes in confidence to tia [at] chambar.com. Learn more about the new location here. Read more
by Andrew Morrison | The new Chambar opened this morning, right next door from the original. Scout broke the news of the award-winning Belgian-Moroccan restaurant’s expansion plans after the location was secured a year ago. We’ve been tracking its construction ever since.
Today was opening day, and the first time the previously evenings-only restaurant had ever served breakfast and lunch. Many of the dishes on offer this morning had transitioned into the new Chambar line-up from a menu made famous at the original location of Cafe Medina (eg. the short rib fricassee, Belgian waffles, etc.) before it moved to its new location on Richards Street last week. The old Medina, you’ll recall, used to be next door to the old Chambar.
Confused? It’s actually not as complicated as it seems.
The short story is that the owners of Chambar (Karri & Nico Schuermans) launched Cafe Medina with a business partner (Robbie Kane) seven years ago. When Chambar announced its plans last year to expand next door with a brunch/lunch service featuring chef Nico’s original dishes designed for Cafe Medina, a future with the two eateries existing side by side and competing against one another with the same dishes was plainly undesirable. The solution was a cordial split between the partners and several city blocks of distance between their respective new restaurants.
The new Chambar, as you can see from the shots above and below, has clearly maintained the soothing, casual aesthetic of the original, and yet is has grown considerably in size, both in seating and production capacities (the new kitchen is massive). It has also gained a patio, which will no doubt be considered one of the better ones in the city before summer’s end.
The quality of the food and drink, in my mind at least, is something of a given. I have no doubts about the kitchen or bar staff. The big question for most people will be this: “Does it feel like the original?” And it’s a fair question to ask, because in addition to the great drinks and delicious food, Chambar tabled a tangible soul — which is a rare thing in the restaurant business. The spirit of the eatery was one of the original location’s best qualities, not to mention a probable cause of the storied Chambar Effect. To date, I’ve only broken bread once at the new address, but I think the answer to that question is a big yes. Chambar remains Chambar, all day and well into the night.
The old location of Chambar shuttered this past Saturday in anticipation of the big move to the new address next door. While the restaurant is on this pergatorial dark side of the moon, they’ll be hosting a ”fire sale” this Wednesday, August 13th. Goods on the block will include furniture, decor, miscellaneous kitchen equipment, plates, glassware, and Micros POS terminals/printers. It’s a cash only affair, with doors opening at 562 Beatty Street at 11am. If you have great memories of the original Chambar, this is you big chance to take a piece of it home. See you there!
The GOODS from Chambar
Vancouver, BC | The award-winning Chambar restaurant is looking to add one more line cook to its team before opening in the new Beatty St. location (next door to the original). All interested parties with experience should contact Sous Chef Alex Ploughman with their resumes in confidence via alex [at] chambar.com. Learn more about the new location here. Read more
The GOODS from Chambar
Vancouver, BC | Chambar is looking for a full time Pastry Cook to join the opening team at the new restaurant, which opens in August. Restaurant service and line experience are major assets. All interested individuals are invited to contact Jane via jane_mary_copeland [at] yahoo.com for more information. Learn more about the award-winning restaurant after the jump… Read more
by Andrew Morrison | We broke the news of Chambar’s coming expansion back in October. The Belgian-Moroccan eatery – one of my personal favourites since it opened 10 years ago on Beatty Street – is only moving next door…
The new restaurant will be roughly twice the size of the current one, with about 270 seats between two levels, a 50 seat patio, and private rooms that can fit 20 – 80 people. There are lots of opportunities for new design motifs to fit in with the old, but I suspect it will look very similar to the original. Yes, in addition to the branding, relaxed vibe, deep drinks programs, and casual flirtations with fine dining, much of its furniture will also be making the move, which is great news because who doesn’t love the original tables, couches, banquettes and button-ed up red booths? ”The layout will be just like the old Chambar,” Karri explains, pointing out how the front will be the lounge and bar area that narrows at the waist to open up into a dining room. “The new place has brick and beams, too,” she adds, referring to the core aesthetic of the original. One big change is that the wall that divides the patio from the interior will be glass (said patio will also have its all-day sunshine filtered by young trees – sounds awesome). Also making the move will be the staff, though they’ll definitely be needing to hire a lot more people considering the breadth of their expansion.
30 more people, to be exact. They’ll need them, too, as the place is huge. I went on a tour with co-owner Karri Schuermans today and while it was clear that they still have a ways to go if they’re to meet their revised target opening date of the first week of August, most of what’s left to do is cosmetic. Most of the heavy lifting appeared to be done. As you can see from the shots below, it does resemble the layout of the original Chambar. The only obvious departures are the sprawling patio (which I expect will be pretty magical), the stairs that lead down to the massive kitchens and private room, the rooftop deck for further private functions (killer views from up there), the sound proofing at the entrance to the rear dining room, and the introduction of a new colour to the Chambar fold: a tealish green (evidenced on the wall section by the door and wave-like panel that spills across the ceiling above the bar).
Owner/chef Nico Schuermans menus are also taking shape. He’ll be keeping plenty of the Cafe Medina (also moving) originals – which he developed in the first place – for breakfast service (fricassee, etc), while lunch and dinner will see classic mainstays like the lamb tagine and the moules frites joined by about 20 small plates, which are still in development. I don’t know how they could possibly improve on the drinks side of things, but they’re aiming to make life easier for the bar staff. The 22 seat bar is purpose-built for ease and efficiency (wells and rails galore), and the wines are going to be laid resplendent on racks inside a great big temperature-controlled walk-in box of glass just off the dining room. It all looks fantastic, and it’s incredibly comforting that they’re a known entity with a pretty kickass track record of doing good things. I mean, what’s not to love about this move? Chambar + patio? Yes, please! Chambar + breakfast? Absolutely! Chambar + roof? Let’s go!
The GOODS from Chambar
Vancouver, BC | Chambar is on the lookout for a full-time barista to join our team. Our new team member will be part of the exciting opening of our new restaurant in roughly one month, with training beginning now. The right candidate will have high-volume barista experience, and be willing to work in a fast-paced environment with customer service skills and a high attention to detail. Serving experience, food, beer and wine knowledge also a great asset. Please send resume and cover letters to taryn [at] chambar.com. Read more
The GOODS from Chambar
Vancouver, BC | Chambar is hiring all front of house positions for our new location. If you’re interested in joining our team and being apart of this exciting project, we would like to invite you for an interview with our management team. We will be conducting interviews on June 9th and June 10th from 9:00 am to 4:00 pm. Please follow this link to schedule your interview. Since opening its doors in 2004, Chambar has made its mark on Vancouver’s hospitality scene as a leader in fine dining. This lively restaurant boasts a European flair and continuously provides excellent food with no hint of pretension. It’s the warm, familiar setting and the genuine enthusiasm of our team that makes our guests want to come and relive their Chambar experience time and time again. Read more
by Andrew Morrison | When Scout broke the news that Cafe Medina would be moving this summer, we asked our readership to vote on where they’d like to see the new location of the popular Beatty St. brunch spot. Well over 1,000 of you responded, with Mount Pleasant and the DTES (specifically Gastown, Strathcona, or Chinatown) being your favoured destinations. Alas, owner Robbie Kane is staying close to home, opting for the short-lived Tappo Restobar spot (formerly Q4 al Centro) at 780 Richards Street.
It’s a wise choice, and even though the move takes Medina a few blocks further away from me, I’m thrilled at the prospect. The change will not only increase Medina’s seating capacity to 75 people (up from 65), but it will also allow for a proper bar. And since bars are generally evening fixtures, we can expect the restaurant to eventually expand its operations and start serving dinner, perhaps as soon as this Autumn – and there was much rejoicing.
Further cause for high fives is the assurance from Kane that “all the favourites” will remain on the menu. To me (and Kane confirms this), that means things like the amazing tagine, the fluffy Liege waffles, and the dreamy short rib friccasse with applewood smoked cheddar and arugula. With the move, however, will come significant menu changes. And it’s ok to be anxious about that. If you love Medina as much as I do, you might even be terrified. My initial fears, however, have since been calmed.
Those who enjoyed the Mother’s Day brunch at Medina may have spied Bittered Sling co-founder/chef Jonathan Chovancek observing operations. That’s because he’s been freshly brought aboard to steer the new Medina’s culinary ship forward. An admitted fan of the restaurant since its launch, Chovancek is very familiar with the existing menu, and is already at work experimenting with new items. “My goal is to slowly incorporate new dishes that will become classics, new favourites,” he says, adding that he’s keen to honour Medina’s legacy.
Chovancek may have top drawer farm-to-table sensibilities and great relationships with local farmers and producers (one of the best pieces of salmon I’ve ever eaten was prepared by him several years ago out at UBC Farm), but the thing that quiets the anxieties I have about the changes to come is his demonstrated adaptability. By his own account, he’s an “interpretive chef” — he’s not one to be pigeon-holed as a proponent or purveyor of one particular cuisine. And I trust that the pan-Mediterranean/Levantine milieu of Medina won’t prove too difficult for him to unpack, iron out, and wear as if it were tailored to fit.
His experience inspires further confidence. With skills honed at Vancouver Island’s Aerie Resort and Sooke Harbour House, Ontario’s Eigensinn Farm and Avalon, and here in Vancouver via catering outfits like Culinary Capers and Kale & Nori, it’s not as if Chovancek is unfamiliar with high expectations. And it’ll be great to see him behind a line again. Bittered Sling, the company he launched with partner Lauren Mote, is now largely a retail operation that runs itself, so it’s not hard to measure his motivation. “I need to be cooking again,” he says with smile. Too right.
As for the space, don’t read anything into the photos you see above. It’s got high ceilings, windows, an open kitchen, and a bar. Beyond that, there will be next to nothing left of Tappo Restobar when they’re finished with it. Not even the floor is staying. Brian Kane – Robbie’s big brother and a production designer in the film trade for 30 years – is doing a complete overhaul, and I’m very excited to see what he comes up with.
The new Medina is on track to open in August, not long after the original location closes it doors.
The GOODS from Chambar
Vancouver, BC | Chambar Restaurant is looking to hire an experienced, full-time line cook with a minimum of three years of experience in a high volume, fast-paced kitchen. The candidates must have a strong work ethic and be detail-oriented with fine dining plating skills. The wage is competitive. Please email resumes to justin [at] chambar.com or apply in person between 12pm and 4pm. No phone calls please. Learn more about the restaurant after the jump… Read more
The GOODS from Chambar
Vancouver, BC | Chambar is on the lookout for a full-time host. Applicants must have a minimum of 3 years experience in the industry and be highly adaptable. Events management experience is preferred. Our hosts must be great with guests and have a high level of customer service skills. Applicants should also be enthusiastic, eager to learn, and well-versed in the OpenTable reservation system and its operations. Please email your resume and cover letter justin [at] chambar.com. Read more
The GOODS from The Dirty Apron
Vancouver, BC | The Dirty Apron Delicatessen is on the lookout for a new full time front of house Deli Sales Associate. Applicants must have a passion for food, local products, and a minimum 2 years experience in the hospitality or grocery industries. Starting wage is $11/hour. Interested applicants can email resumes to info [at] dirtyapron.com with the subject line “FOH Deli Position”. Read more
The GOODS from Chambar
Vancouver, BC | Chambar Restaurant is looking to hire an experienced Pastry Chef and a full-time line cook with a minimum of 3 years of experience in a high volume, fast-paced kitchen. The candidates must have a strong work ethic and be detail-oriented with fine dining plating skills. Wage competitive. Please email resumes to firstname.lastname@example.org. No phone calls please. Read more
by Andrew Morrison | When we recently broke the news about Chambar’s expansion plans, we promised that we’d let you know about the fate of Medina, the dizzyingly popular brunch spot that Chambar is umbilically connected to. First, some background…
Chambar owners Karri and Nico Schuermans launched Medina together with an former employee of theirs, Robbie Kane, almost seven years ago. It was a time when the brunch scene in Vancouver was suffering from broad bouts of ubiquity. Granted, there were a lot of eateries offering brunch back then, but for the most part they adhered hard to the mimosa and benny traditions, which is to say that one could get the same lazy weekend mid-day meal at one restaurant and the next, ad infinitum. Medina was refreshing because it broke through the mold with things like Liege waffles with lavender chocolate and caramel, sizzling fricasee pans of fried eggs with braised short rib, arugula and applewood smoked cheddar (my personal fave), and coffee worthy of a second cup. It didn’t take long for Medina to attract daily line-ups, and soon it expanded to include more seats in a rear dining room. In very short order, it became the most highly recommended brunch spot in the city, a position that it still holds to this day.
So with Chambar moving and expanding their hours to include breakfast and brunch, the fate of Medina was unclear. The lease might be up, but even it wasn’t it would have to close so Nico and Karri wouldn’t have to compete with themselves right next door when they launched Chambar 2.0. But will Medina ever re-open? Of course it will. It’s too successful a brand to be left by the wayside, but it will have to move.
“I just want to tell all our customers that they shouldn’t worry,” Robbie told me over the weekend. “I’m looking for a new location for Medina as we speak, and I’m looking very hard.” Where that will be remains up in the air (we’ll let you know as soon as the deal is signed), but Robbie hopes to have the new Medina open this Spring, roundabout the same time that the old Medina closes.