DINER: Highly Respected DTES Restaurant “Fat Dragon” Set To Close On December 22

December 16, 2012 

Andrew Morrison | I started writing my annual Top 10 Best New Restaurants column for the newspaper yesterday when I learned that the keeper of the #9 spot, Fat Dragon, was going to close for good next Saturday (December 22). It’s a bummer, for sure, that they couldn’t last nine months. My family loved the place; it was casual, affordable, and “Chinese BBQ meets Southern US spice” concepts don’t come along every day. The people, however, never fell for it the same way that the critics did (I wasn’t alone in my affections. My colleagues at the Globe & Mail, The Courier, and the Vancouver Sun also loved The Fat Dragon). I think that had lot of that had to do with the simple fact that few of them ever bothered to go, which was a bit of a shocker considering how the owners – the same people who brought us Refuel and the two Campagnolos – are highly respected for track record of uncompromising quality.

No, I suspect the real reason why it couldn’t make it was its address. Located just down the street from Oppenheimer Park, the 500 block of Powell St. hasn’t attracted much in the way of gastronomically adventurous foot traffic since the old days of Japantown. It’s unfortunate that a lot of Vancouver diners still dread the core of the Downtown Eastside as if it were an urban Hades, a place where their cars would be broken into by crack addicts and their persons robbed by HIV-infected needle-point, but I understand that nothing stifles an appetite quite like anxiety, however baseless and prejudicial the anxiety might be. What is true, however, is that many of my neighbours on the DTES didn’t give the Fat Dragon a warm reception. The owners were (sadly, predictably, falsely, laughably) decried as gentrifiers by a lot of them before the restaurant was even open, and I was disgusted and ashamed to hear – just a few weeks after opening – that someone felt it necessary to introduce a pile of feces to the handle of the front door. Read more

GOODS: “Fat Dragon” On The DTES All Set To Release The Kraken On November 21st

November 8, 2012 

Fat Dragon Bar-B-Q is located at 566 Powell Street in Vancouver BC | 604-558-0880 | www.fatdragonbbq.com

The GOODS from Fat Dragon

Vancouver, BC | Nothing like this has ever been seen on the table before! Witness Fat Dragon – king of the monsters – release the Kraken on November 21 at 8:30pm. This beast of an event will take place at communal tables while an array of shellfish is served family style. R&B Brewing Co. Head Brewer Todd Graham is preparing a cask-conditioned oyster stout, while the fine folks at Orchard Hill Estate Cidery will have their Red Roof cider on hand to pair with the dinner. Roll up your sleeves and dig in! Tickets are $55 plus service charges and can be purchased here. Take a look at the menu after the jump… Read more

GOODS: Fat Dragon Bar-B-Q Throwing Bash Of Pork, Smoke, And Spice On October 24th

October 12, 2012 

Fat Dragon Bar-B-Q is located at 566 Powell Street in Vancouver BC | 604-558-0880 | www.fatdragonbbq.com

The GOODS from Fat Dragon

Vancouver, BC | Whole hog never tasted so good. Fat Dragon Bar-B-Q is throwing a Hog of a bash on October 24 at 8:30pm. Gather around communal tables with friends and break bread over a family style feast featuring pork, smoke and spice. The menu is rounded out with salads and sides, but who’s kidding who? The anticipated platters of Sloping Hill Farm Pork is the main attraction. Parallel 49 Brewing Co. has carved out an exceptional Oktoberfest beer, ‘Schadenfreude’ to be served along side your feast. Get all the tasty details and salivate over the menu after the jump… Read more

OPPORTUNITY KNOCKS: Fat Dragon And The Two Campagnolos Looking For Cooks

August 29, 2012 

Campagnolo Roma is located at 2297 East Hastings Street in Vancouver, BC | 604-569-0456 | www.campagnoloroma.com

The GOODS from Fat Dragon, Campagnolo, and Campagnolo Roma

Vancouver, BC | Campagnolo, Campagnolo ROMA & Fat Dragon Bar-B-Q are looking for career-minded cooks. The successful applicants will have at least 2 years of experience working with quality ingredients in demanding environments. Our company includes three well regarded restaurants and promotes from within. We use the best ingredients that we can get our hands on, and prepare them with finesse and integrity. Work on the line, side by side with chef and the sous-chef – a perfect learning environment. If this speaks to you, send a few words about yourself and a resume to cheftedanderson@gmail.com. Read more

GOODS: By Popular Demand, Fried Chicken Graces The Menu At Fat Dragon Bar-B-Q

Fat Dragon Bar-B-Q is located at 566 Powell Street in Vancouver BC | 604-558-0880 | www.fatdragonbbq.com

The GOODS from Fat Dragon

Vancouver, BC | The number one question asked by patrons when Refuel Restaurant closed last March was, “Which one of your restaurants is going to start serving your famous fried chicken?”. After countless requests from our regular and new guests, Fat Dragon Bar-B-Q has the answer. Given that fried chicken is a staple in southern U.S. cooking and can be found on the menu at several Korean restaurants, it didn’t seem much of a stretch to find a place for fried chicken on this east meets south menu.

Executive Chef, Ted Anderson and Chef de Cuisine, Adam Johnson introduce Dragon Fried Chicken. Brined in smoked water and twice fried, this half Polderside Farm’s chicken is super crispy and served with a barbecue sauce made in house with fermented soy bean and Korean chili paste. “Not to sound cliche but… we did it our way,” says Anderson, “with a lick of smoke and some Asian flavour, this fried chicken should satisfy our guest’s cravings while keeping with the original Fat Dragon concept.” Read more

GOODS: The Campagnolo Family Wants You To Leave Your Dad Alone This Father’s Day

Campagnolo Roma is located at 2297 East Hastings Street in Vancouver, BC | 604-569-0456 | www.campagnoloroma.com

The GOODS from Fat Dragon, Campagnolo, and Campagnolo Roma

Vancouver, BC | Sunday, June 17 is Father’s Day and the Campagnolo, Campagnolo ROMA and Fat Dragon Bar-B-Q family of restaurants encourage guests to give dad a break – leave him at home and dine without him. All three restaurants will give 50% off take-out orders to families who dine-in without dad and take something to-go for him following their meal. When posed with the question, “what do you want for Father’s Day?”, the answer was unanimous (amongst dad’s who work at these restaurants) – “a day off with no obligations and no responsibility.” For dads who would prefer the company of their family, some special dishes and deals are available for dine-in at each restaurant. Take a look after the jump… Read more

AWESOME THING WE DRANK #671: Summer “Junmai Sour” At Fat Dragon On The DTES

We’re in the office currently fantasizing about the “Junmai Sour”, an original sipper from barman Matt Martin at Powell St.’s new Fat Dragon Bar-B-Q. Think fruit tea-steeped sake and gin frothed with egg white and given licks of lemon, sugar, orange blossom and mint on ice. That’s a pretty exotic (not to mention ideal) amalgam to compliment weather like this, and so we fixate, trapped and longing…

GOODS: Fat Dragon & The Two Campagnolos Are Primed For Walk-Ins This Mother’s Day

Campagnolo Roma is located at 2297 East Hastings Street in Vancouver, BC | 604-569-0456 | www.campagnoloroma.com

The GOODS from Fat Dragon, Campagnolo, and Campagnolo Roma

Vancouver, BC | Mother’s Day is upon us and we want to help you show your mom some appreciation. Join us at Campagnolo & Campagnolo ROMA for brunch or Fat Dragon Bar-B-Q for lunch, Sunday, May 13. Mom will receive a single stem flower while supplies last and our bar team has designed some beautiful spring time cocktails with her in mind. Reservations aren’t available, so just come on in! Get all the details on the special cocktails after the jump… Read more

AWESOME THING WE ATE #864: Noodles In Duck, Beef & Pork Drippings At Fat Dragon

OMG yes | “Stir-fried noodles with smoky drippings” | $6 | Fat Dragon | 566 Powell St.

MORE AWESOME THINGS WE ATE

DINER: A Look Inside The Highly Anticipated Fat Dragon Chinese BBQ Joint On The DTES

by Andrew Morrison | A weekend of dry runs with friends and family have owners Tom Doughty, Robert Belcham, and Ted Anderson all set to open their much anticipated Fat Dragon at 566 Powell St. on the DTES this week. The new restaurant will specialize in Chinese BBQ in a way that we haven’t seen before, as nearly all the items will enjoy a lick of southern spice with a proper bar lending a pairing hand with five original cocktails or 4×4 wines by the glass (plus a reserve list). I took a look yesterday afternoon and there was much to like, including a kaffir lime soft serve ice cream that’ll be making it onto their opening menu this Thursday (so good). Here’s the PR and all of our photos from yesterday afternoon:

Accomplished restaurateurs, Tom Doughty & Robert Belcham of Campagnolo and Campagnolo ROMA, are excited to partner with longtime employee and first time restaurant owner, Ted Anderson, to proudly announce the opening of Fat Dragon Bar-B-Q on Thursday April 5, 2012. Fat Dragon, where Far East Asian flavours collide with American Southern barbecue methods, is the most casual restaurant this team has so far created. Open seven days a week, from 11am – late, Fat Dragon offers both dine-in and take-out options with street parking available at 566 Powell Street. “We have always wanted to open a barbeque joint.” says Anderson, ”We want guests to be able to enjoy a few cocktails and snacks without getting fatigued on heavy barbeque, so we incorporated Asian flavours and techniques to lighten the load.”

The Fat Dragon kitchen team will be led by Chef de Cuisine Adam Johnson in serving delicious food, first seasoned with Asian spices and herbs, then slow smoked over local fruit woods. These techniques will be applied to the best local cuts of pork, beef, lamb, fresh seafood, vegetables, and tofu. “We have a great love for different types of food from all over Asia,” says Ted Anderson. “This is our homage to the many, great, late-night dinners of noodles, barbequed pork and stir fried crab that we have enjoyed in our travels.”

The team at Bricault Design has created a stripped down, open space reminiscent of a 1920’s opium den. Exposed brick and wooden beams are complemented by a silk entry way, resembling the interior of a Chinese lantern, and a dragon-skin inspired ceiling installation made of wooden scales. The focal point of the room is an 18 ft bar housing a variety of local craft brews and imported Asian beers, a small selection of wines by the glass, and an assortment of cocktails derived from classic recipes rejuvenated with smoke and Asian flavours.

BEFORE

The Fat Dragon | ExteriorThe Fat Dragon | SignageThe Fat Dragon | Kitchen windowThe Fat Dragon | Front flanking banquettesThe Fat Dragon | from the front rightThe Fat Dragon | Ceilings (they aim to keep them this way)The Fat Dragon | from the kitchenThe Fat Dragon | ceilingsThe Fat Dragon | front rightThe Fat Dragon | The BarThe Fat Dragon | Front leftThe Fat Dragon | TablesThe Fat Dragon | ChairsThe Fat Dragon | Kitchen walk inThe Fat Dragon | kitchenThe Fat Dragon | kitchenThe Fat Dragon | grass-clothed wrapped washroomsThe Fat Dragon | The barThe Fat Dragon | Hoops for entrance installationThe Fat Dragon | Bar to backThe Fat Dragon | The street, looking west toward the city
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AFTER

Fat DragonFat DragonFat Dragon | Chinese-American BBQ | 566 Powell St. | DTESFat DragonFat DragonFat DragonFat DragonFat DragonFat DragonFat DragonFat DragonFat DragonFat DragonFat DragonFat DragonFat DragonFat DragonFat DragonFat DragonFat DragonFat Dragon
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DINER: Campagnolo Crew To Open New “Fat Dragon”, A Chinese BBQ Joint On The DTES

February 3, 2012 

by Andrew Morrison | Robert Belcham and Tom Doughty, the owner/sommelier duo behind the two Campagnolo restaurants, are opening a Chinese BBQ restaurant called Fat Dragon in the heart of the Downtown Eastside (566 Powell).


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Joining them as a first time owner is Ted Anderson, long the chef at Refuel and now at Campagnolo Roma out on East Hastings (always nice to see that happen). The concept is interesting – Chinese food with a Southern US “lick of smoke” – and I’m sure they’ll nail it (the menu reads fantastic, and we’ll get to that soon), but let’s be honest; the thing that will define The Fat Dragon won’t be its food, but rather its location, at least in its first couple of years.

If you thought Salt Tasting Room in Blood Alley was daring back in the day, or really any location remotely worthy of the word in recent years, dinner at Fat Dragon will be – for some – like going to the moon. It’s this section of the DTES around Oppenheimer Park that has been (and still is) considered a bridge too far by restaurateurs, even hungry first-timers with very few funds. There is a community here, and a strong one at that, but it has to face a daily gnarliness that no other neighbourhood in the city has to contend with. I think for most Vancouverites, the idea of dining out hereabouts is repellent, and yet the restaurant, due in under two months, will probably do very well indeed. Read more