by Andrew Morrison | Early last month we revealed that restaurateurs James Iranzad (Cartel, Abigail’s Party) and Josh Pape (The Diamond) had secured 120 West Hastings with plans for a new joint arriving in 2012. There was no name or chef at that point (they’d only just signed the lease), so the news was “info-light”. In this week’s copy of the Westender, I have written a piece on the place, revealing a whole bunch of details, including a glance askance at the first menu and cocktail list drafts (mmm, bacon bitters). The paper doesn’t come out until Wednesday, so until then, here are the Cliff notes… Read more
The GOODS from Pourhouse
Vancouver, BC | What better way to end your busy weekend than a night of music, comfort food and cocktails? Pourhouse boasts a first-rate line-up of local jazz talent every Sunday night. On the 1st and 3rd Sunday of each month, check out Russell Sholberg and the Sweet Pea Trio. On the 2nd Sunday of each month, it’s Paul Doherty, and on the 4th Sunday of each month, it’s the Gord White Trio. The nights are getting longer, so cozy up to the smooth sounds of jazz over a delicious meal and an old-timey cocktail (or two). Details on the restaurant after the jump… Read more
by Andrew Morrison | About a month ago, first-time restaurateurs Matt Schmidt (left) and Justin Devlin (right) pounced on the 322 Water Street address in Gastown after its most recent incarnation – McLean’s (previously So.cial at Le Magasin) – finally caved. Schmidt (28), an Emily Carr alum (film) who was a minority shareholder in the Barcelona nightclub on Granville, and Devlin (27), a marketing fellow with no experience (that I know of) in the restaurant field, have been hard at work ever since, renovating it to match the kind of space they’d like to hang out in. They were kind enough to give me a tour the other day, and to expound on their plans for turning it into a 140 seat, casual supper club called House Guest. Read more
by Andrew Morrison | Good news, gluttony fans. Local restaurateurs James Iranzad (Abigail’s Party, Cartel) and Josh Pape (former Bartender of the Year, co-owner of The Diamond) have picked up the voluminous, 2,400 sqft space at 120 Hastings across from the Woodwards complex with plans for turning it into a new restaurant and bar by February 2012. They’ve only just signed the lease on the newly renovated (read: empty) location, but trades have nevertheless made their assessments and the keys are in hand. The board is set. The pieces are moving. I can’t wait for this one. Read more
by Andrew Morrison | Just when you thought Gastown restaurateur Sean Heather would take a breath (his first in five years), he goes ahead and secures another location, arguably the best remaining/available address in the whole of the neighbourhood: the southwest corner of Cordova and Carrall, directly across from the original Boneta.
The space – formerly Prime Time Chicken – has been the source of wild rumours for a couple of years. If you’ve been privy to them, you dreaded it was going to be a chain of some kind; a Keg, an American Apparel, a Cactus Club, you name it. In recent months, it’s been a rotating set for period movies and television shows, doubling for old Paris and then quick-changing to New York. That has only served to make the truth of it murkier. I’ve been told of many discussions and some near signings. Lots of restaurateurs and retailers have eye-balled this space, but the fear in the neighbourhood was that it would go to a chain outlet of some kind, a Le Chateau or an Earls. It’s funny how Sean Heather can have eight establishments (Salty Tongue, The Shebeen, The Irish Heather, Judas Goat, Salt Tasting Room, The Everything Cafe, Fetch and the upcoming Bitter) and have them not be carbon copies of each other. It just makes chains look wicked lazy.
Heather’s new pickup was once pretty run down. It’s been fixed up by BC Housing to the clean state of a starched skeleton, though its mosaic floor has been reduced to 1/4 of the total voluminous space (a previous abomination). Its windows still drink up plenty of natural light, and air is thick with lore. Though this particular space doesn’t even have an official address any more, it was part of the The Rainer Hotel, built in 1907 for off-duty loggers and passers-through of every stripe. Once upon a time it was a bustling place, the outer navel of an earlier inner city.
But why another eatery, Sean Heather? “Business is good at my other places,” he says, “and yeah, it was either do this or let it go to someone else.” I guess that makes better sense than just waiting around for another business (read: potential competitor) to come in to the neighbourhood that you’ve already invested so much in. I see it as a net positive for the area, like a move in the game Monopoly. I’d much prefer an Irish pub owner over an old man in a top hat with a grey moustache, you know what I mean? Read more
While I’ve been out of commission for the last few days, Michelle has been enjoying the opening of Nelson The Seagull in the heart of Gastown at 315 Carrall Street, bringing home sandwiches, treats, pestos, and kickass lemonades to cheer me up and out of my drug-induced stupor. When I saw some of these pictures, I scored a ride down for a bite and a proper look-see.
I love the finished, open concept product, and especially dig how young, enthusiastic owners Lee, Jodie and Jonathan have largely left the space’s old bones alone. Their menu is attractively simple and straightforward (limited to sandwiches, salads, soup, baked goods and such), but they do pretty much everything in house and offer an environment that makes one want to stick around. I’ll probably have more on it in the paper in a few weeks, but if you want some background on the joint to slake your curiosity, click here.
Take a look…
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by Andrew Morrison | Until today, when I opened the door and walked into the construction site, I’d assumed it was a clothing store landing at 315 Carrall (the old Brickyard location). Imagine my surprise when I learned that Nelson The Seagull was going to be a bakery and cafe from a triumvirate of young South Africans (one of whom went to my alma mater, the lovely University of Cape Town). Jodie Balfour and siblings Jonathan and Lee seem genuinely super keen to do something a little different from everyone else and on making the neighbourhood just a little bit better, one coffee and ciabatta loaf at a time. Read more
I’ve been jonesing for a drink at Boneta since Valentine’s Day, but you may have noticed that it’s been closed. You may have also noticed that back at the end of July we broke the news that the Gastown icon would close at the end of February and re-open in a space nearby. I’ve been asked if that is what’s going on, and the answer is yes and no. The restaurant is moving, but not for a couple of months at the very least. In fact, Boneta will reopen on Thursday evening in its original address, complete with new chef.Jason Leizert, who has been picked up off waivers after the closure of The Corner Suite Bistro De Luxe early last month left him out of work. As for chef and co-owner Jeremie Bastien, he is taking a lengthy sabbatical traveling around Asia and Australia. For how long? Maybe over a year. He remains a partner, and it is his privilege to return at his leisure. Many of his original dishes will stay on the new menu, which is to be introduced as a work in progress on Thursday. The concept remains an idiosyncratic hybrid of French bistro and West Coast modern, and the drinks…well…they’re the drinks.
Around Christmas I posted a video that was shot at an American sporting event and showed a beer dispensing machine that blew my mind. Why? Because it poured from the bottom to the top instead of the other way around. Unbeknown to me at the time, Mark Brand and Alex Usow at Gastown’s Sea Monstr Sushi had one of the BottomsUp machines on order. With Sea Monstr’s liquor license about to finally drop tomorrow, Brand broke out the machine for an ice cold Sapporo test run this afternoon…
Sean Heather and Scott Hawthorn, partners at Salt Tasting Room and Judas Goat, are joining forces for a third time to open a new joint called Bitter. “It’s an extension of Salt, really” says Heather, “only its a beer format instead of wine”. Beers will be had in all guises and sizes, from tiny tasters to pitchers, while the food will see fresh pretzels, weisswurst, smoked sausage, house sauerkraut, currywurst, whole smoked ham hocks, pickled onions, scotch eggs, pork pies, and more. Bitter will land on the main floor of the oddly-shaped (flat-iron-ish) building at 18 West Hastings opposite Pigeon Park, and will sport some 140 seats, two entrances (one from the street and one from the back alley), a patio in Center A’s parking lot, a 20ft diameter circular bar and finishing kitchen around which diners will sit and be served, and my favourite thing of all..a neon sign flashing the word “BITTER”.
We’ll be giving you the first look very soon, probably tomorrow after we launch the new version of the site. Until then, dream a little dream of pork hock and ales…
Job Posting from Scout supporter L’Abattoir
Vancouver, BC | L’Abattoir is seeking a motivated Chef de Partie/Line Cook. The successful candidate will be a self motivated, driven individual who committed to ongoing learning and personal growth as a cook. Minimum 2 years experience is required for this position. Please apply in confidence to info [at] labattoir [dot ca]. Details about the restaurant after the jump… Read more
News from Scout supporter Wild Rice
Vancouver, BC | One ancient Chinese axiom states that if a thing is worth doing, it’s worth doing at least twice. Consider New Year’s for instance. There’s the ‘mainstream’ New Year’s Eve held on December 31st – a rather sedate affair by Chinese standards (elegant champagne, a few little noisemakers, steamers and silly hats). Since the idea of celebrating New Year is essentially a good one, why not do it again? This time hold a party that lasts 15 days and includes parades, dragon and lion dances, tons of noisy firecrackers and food, lots and lots of special food. Now, that’s a celebration worthy of welcoming a new year.
Hippety hoppety into the Chinese Year of the Rabbit (4709 if you’re counting) with a special prix fixe menu at Wild Rice. Proprietor Andrew Wong and Executive Chef Todd Bright have created a four-course dinner for the auspicious price of $38.88 (numeral three meaning ‘ever-growing’ and numeral eight meaning ‘good luck’) which will be available from February 2 to 13, 2011. Don’t worry, as much as many people enjoy the taste of rabbit, you won’t find Thumper on this menu. Instead, Wild Rice will donate 10 percent of the menu’s proceeds to support the Rabbit Rescue Shelter. Read more
News from Scout supporter The Diamond
Vancouver, BC | Happy Holidays from us here at The Diamond. We hope the break was good to you and yours. To continue with the Christmas cheer and help a few of our friends solidify their NYE, we’re releasing the last 50 tickets to our notorious bash. These are first come, first serve. For those of you not yet in the know, the evening will include the following:
Open bar – That’s right, all our hand crafted cocktails and delicious bottles will be included in the cover price.
Full canapé service – All night our menu items will come in bite sized format along with some party favorites that you don’t usually get to enjoy.
Speaker Bruiser Sound System – One of the country’s greatest will be doing a live set mixed with tables, and no doubt, special guests.
Doors open at 8:30 and close well into 2011. Tickets available by contacting email@example.com or in person, we’d like to see you.
If you’re a pizza wonk like me and have been patiently drooling for months waiting for the opening of Gastown’s Nicli Antica Pizzeria (which aims to be the first certified Neapolitan pizzeria in BC), then you’ll have noticed that their latest target date for opening (mid-December) came and went without any pizza in your mouth. Sigh. The good news is that owner Bill McCaig has hired his key staff, finished the floors, installed the neon signage, had his electrical and plumbing inspected, made an appointment with Intertek to test his Acunto wood-burning oven so that it meets ULC standards and released his menu (read it after the jump). The bad news is that work continues at 62 East Cordova, and we won’t – if all goes according to this new plan – be able to sup at the 40 seater until January (originally, he had hoped for early last summer). Double sigh. Oh well. Patience, right? Read more