DINER: The Highly Anticipated New Vision Of “Boneta” Softly Opens Off Water Street

September 9, 2011 

The new Boneta had a soft friends and family tonight (without food). Opening night proper is Friday. I couldn’t stay long this evening, but I accidentally slipped on a glass of Red Truck IPA and took a few shots on the way down. It looks lovely, and it’s especially comforting to once again be able to sip at the same wooden bar of old. The look is a little Spartan, which isn’t entirely out of character. We should expect the walls to be dressed with Boneta’s original Charles Forsberg works shortly and then I suppose we’ll know the full vibe. Plus I suspect there’ll be lots of people in there, and I’m told that lends something to any atmosphere. I wouldn’t mind a gilt framed mirror or two on the ceiling, but you can’t always get what you want (the old location is keeping those). A proper dogpile is in store for Mark, Neil, Jason et al when they unlock their doors for the first time tomorrow. We wish them the very best of luck in surviving the bumrush.

[flickrset id="72157627504408631" thumbnail="square" overlay="true" size="large"]

ALL ANTICIPATED OPENINGS

A Tale Of Two Bonetas: News Of The Old & A Look Inside The New

by Andrew Morrison | I’m no sad sack but the truth of it is that this summer has sucked for me personally. It began with my hockey team losing (and my city subsequently being attacked by hordes of degenerate assholes), my leg getting broken in an office accident and then, most recently, my father – who I loved very much – went ahead and died without me knowing that he was the least bit ill. There have been some silver linings, but on the whole it has been what the Queen once succinctly called an “annus horribilis” (which I can assure you has nothing to do with Freddie Mercury or butt sex).

Beyond friends and family, I’ve only been able to count on a few things in the last couple of weeks (even the Westfalia’s brakes failed while going down a mountain the other day). One of them has been Gastown’s Boneta, which – since the day it opened in 2007 – I’ve counted as my “local”. As I assume most of our readers are well aware, it closed this past weekend and will re-open in its new location around the corner in the Water Street Garage in a little over a week or so (crossed fingers).

If we lived in an age bereft of cell phones, Boneta would likely be my wife’s first phone call were I to ever go AWOL (granted, were she to ever disappear, I’d call their first as well). Though I often take meetings in one of its corners, I’ve done my best to maintain it as a work-free environment. It’s where I go out first when I don’t have to review restaurants and the point from which I jump off when I do. To my shame I almost never order anything to eat (save for their outstanding poutine). It’s not that I don’t like the food, it’s just that I’ve always preferred to bend elbows there instead. Beer has always just sort of tasted better at its wood than anywhere else.

After receiving the news about my Dad and coming home from the Okanagan to get sauced with my brother last week, Boneta was the one place I could trust to sequester us somewhere quiet and then leave us alone (though recharging our glasses when needed). We flirted with the limits of Serving It Right by way of whiskey and lager, and it may have gotten messy. The last time I cried in a restaurant I was a busboy some 20 years ago, busily slicing open my finger instead of a loaf of bread. I would have been horrified to find myself blubbering at any other table, but at one of Boneta’s it seemed OK.

Luongo, my office equipment and my Dad might let me down, but the original Boneta never did. I’ve loved it dearly through its nearly messy divorce, its chef change and the recent, tragic passing of one of its staff members whose company and character I and many, many others thoroughly enjoyed. It was a place of tremendous comfort, playing host to some of my highest highs and lowest lows, seeing me laugh Sapporo out of my nose on one night and then blow involuntary snot bubbles of profound sadness the next.

Why the gravitational, near emotional attachment? I don’t know, really. Perhaps it’s because a part of me thinks it stands for something. When it opened at 1 West Cordova in 2007, it was the fourth restaurant at that address in as many years. It was a different landscape back then. Gastown was nowhere near as popular as it is today. If it weren’t for Boneta, I doubt very much that Emad Yacoub would be angling to expand his Glowbal empire nearby or that his nephew, Yaletown impresario Peter Girges (he of the terrifying “100 Days” in the Opus Hotel), would have just secured the lease next door in the old Pig & Whistle space. Boneta, to me at least, was always the little restaurant that could, not only begetting such gems as  The Diamond, Sea Monstr Sushi, and the restoration of Save On Meats, but also showing other first time restaurateurs that pretty much anything is possible if you kept your shit tight and your customers happy.

What could take its place? I’ve wondered that for quite a while. With the likes of Yacoub and Girges now testing the waters in these parts, it would be natural to fear that their assured successes would herald next the arrival of something truly hideous, a den of honest to goodness douchery selling sparkling as Champagne and American chuck as Kobe beef to corporate roid freaks high on expense accounts and speed-spiked Red Bull. I hope to hell not, but no matter. As a chef once told me when comparing the $8 million price tag of David Aisenstat’s Shore Club to the less than $100,000 spent to launch Boneta, “For eight million, I would have preferred 80 Bonetas.” True that. I suppose, among other things, I enjoyed the original because it had a surplus of soul and character, two things that take no notice of how deep anyone’s pockets are and can’t be sold or bought. Both – phew – can be transferred, as amply evidenced by the successful move of The Irish Heather across Carrall St. a few years ago.

I was back up in the Okanagan staying in Naramata with my friends Michael and Heidi this past weekend when the restaurant held its last service. I knew full well that I was going to miss it. Michael was going down for it so I give him a lift to Penticton’s little airport. After parking the car, he surprised me with a plane ticket. “It’s yours if you want to join me,” he said. I couldn’t do it and said so in what must have been the most pathetic mumble I’ve ever conjured, and being a good friend he totally understood (pretty much the most generous guy ever). It took me all of five minutes for me to regret turning down his kind offer. I later heard that it was a fantastic time.

But enough sturm und drang, I have some good news and then some gooder news.

Yesterday, Mark Brand informed me that he had just signed a two year extension of the lease at 1 West Cordova, meaning that instead of being turned into an Earl’s vodka bar offering breast implants for appetisers, it will become a private function space for all of Brand’s restaurants, including the new Boneta. That’s the good news. The gooder news is that I was just given a tour of the new space and it looks pretty fucking awesome. Before we get to the photos, here’s a refresher course on the move from back when Scout broke the news some thirteen months ago:

…next year, Boneta will close and reopen in a new location just a lob wedge away in a new Gastown development known as The Garage. You know that mysterious courtyard spot (prone to a dozen rumours since it was completed last year) behind L’Abattoir and the original Shebeen, the one that’s all glassed in and brand spanking new? That’s it: 2,222 sqft of prime virgin space with entrances through Gaoler’s Mews, Water St., and Blood Alley.

I checked it out as a temporary “pop-up” gallery in the Spring and hoped against hope that it would be turned into a restaurant once it was finished. It’s one of those unique, totally killer spots that is set back from the street, away from the drifting weekend yahoos and Old Spaghetti Factory tourists. If anyone could make it work, it’s these guys (kudos to Robert Fung of The Salient Group for getting that).

What does it give Boneta that it didn’t have before? An 800 sqft solarium equipped with five sliding doors; floor to ceiling glass and a roof that’s over 30% glass; a U-shaped bar with 12 seats; a year round heated and covered courtyard patio for 12 (think Brix); and brand new everything from electric to A/C.

They’re downsizing the seating capacity a little, from 100+ to 65-75, but I’ll be the last to complain about that as I think intimate is better for the concept than spread out. The artwork – something Boneta is known for – will be making the move, too, as will much of the original room’s motifs (they’re hoping to recycle/reclaim plenty).

From what I understand and saw with my own eyes, not much has changed as far as the vision or layout is concerned. Take a look at both the old and new below, and join me in the short but interminably long wait for the first drinks poured…

[flickrset id="72157627534362826" thumbnail="square" overlay="true" size="large"]

ALL ANTICIPATED OPENINGS

DINER: A Letter From Gastown’s “Boneta” On Its Closing And Imminent Resurrection

As many of you know, the end for one of my/your favourite restaurants, Boneta, is nigh. Here’s a note – received while I was on the road a few days back – from co-owner Neil Ingram:

Well friends, the last days of the old Boneta are finally upon us. High hopes, false starts and a furious sense of optimism aside, Aug 20th will be the swansong for 1 W Cordova.

Four years have flown by with your fine company and cheer, so please come down and join us for a last dinner, drink and whirl under the mirrors. We couldn’t have done it without you: well, obviously, but you know what we mean. A piece of Vancouver history had a great last hurrah. Thanks.

Boneta will be back in early September, glittering between Blood Alley and a sky-strewn atrium in the Water Street Garage courtyard.

Our new home is a reflection, refinement and celebration of what we love and believe in, we hope it will become your new home too. Let’s keep our last, best neighborhood just that.

Boneta loves you xoxo

Scout readers can expect a thorough preview of the new digs shortly.

GOODS: “Boneta” To Host Mighty Battle Of Beer Versus Wine In Gastown This Monday

Boneta Restaurant is located in the heart of Gastown at 1 West Cordova St. | 604-684-1844 | www.boneta.ca

The GOODS from Boneta

Vancouver, BC | Ladies and Gentlemen; the time has finally come to answer the age-old question that haunts us day and night. Beer or Wine? Grain or Grape? Cicerone or Sommelier? Boneta owner and wine aficionado Neil Ingram will pit his beloved grape against Chester Carey of Brewery Creek Liquor Store and his adored malt on the evening of Monday, May 9th. Chef Jason Leizert has created a five course menu to put this dispute to bed once and for all. Each course will see one wine and one beer paired with Boneta’s award-winning food, and you get to be the judge. Time for the heavyweights to step into the ring – ding, ding, ding! Get details on how to score tickets ($95, tax and gratuity included) over at Vancouver Craft Beer WeekRead more

GOODS: Walk Away With Boneta’s New Big Screen TV Following Canucks’ Playoff Run

Boneta Restaurant is located in the heart of Gastown at 1 West Cordova St. | 604-684-1844 | www.boneta.ca

The GOODS from Boneta

Vancouver, BC | The playoffs are upon us and after lengthy debates about Canuck pride we have cracked to pressure. During the rest of our Stanley Cup run we’ll be showing the games in our lounge in glorious HD, but there’s a catch. We really dislike TV’s in restaurants, especially ours, so the night after we parade the cup through the city, the TV will be yours. One of yours that is, that’s right we can’t wait to take this 50 inch plasma, 1080 p, ultra thin down from atop our bar and give it away. Read more

Gastown’s Award-Winning “Boneta” Set To Re-Open With Chef Jason Leizert At Stoves

Mark Brand (left) and his partners at Boneta have hired on former Corner Suite chef Jason Leizert (right)

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.

ALL ANTICIPATED OPENINGS

A Night Of Classic Napa Valley Wine At Gastown’s “Boneta”

September 24, 2010 

3114696114_afcdda65d3_o

Boneta Restaurant is located in the heart of Gastown at 1 West Cordova St. | 604-684-1844 | www.boneta.ca

News from Scout supporter Boneta

Vancouver, BC | On Tuesday October 5th celebrate over 4 decades of estate wine making with Napa Valley’s famed Trefethen Vineyard and Boneta Restaurant. As one of Napa Valley’s few remaining family wine estates, Trefethen Vineyards has never purchased a single outside grape. Located in the Oak Knoll District, the estate vineyard is nestled in a verdant landscape of vines at the cooler, southern end of Napa Valley.

Diners will have the opportunity to sample some of the winery’s special library selections, including their signature wine, HaLo, and a gorgeous Chardonnay celebrating their 35th anniversary vintage of this wine. To highlight these exceptional wines Chef Jeremie Bastien has created a four-course menu of hearty fall dishes including Wild Mushroom Arancini and Parsley Root Ravioli with Brown Butter and Fried Capers.

Expert sommelier and Napa enthusiast Neil Ingram will also be on hand to walk guests through this wonderful glimpse of classic Southern California wine making at it’s finest. Read more

“Boneta” Playing Host To Dinner Paired With Similkameen Wines…

3114696114_afcdda65d3_o

Boneta Restaurant is located in the heart of Gastown at 1 West Cordova St. | 604-684-1844 | www.boneta.ca

News from Scout supporter Boneta

Vancouver, BC | From sun-drenched orchards to lazy rivers, the Similkammen Valley in BC’s beautiful southern interior is known as the organic farming capital of Canada. Now enjoy the height of the harvest at Boneta Restaurant for the Similkameen Wineries Association’s special Wine Maker’s Dinner on Tuesday, August 24th beginning at 6:30 PM. Details after the jump… Read more

“Boneta” Moving Into Cool New Gastown Digs This February…

3114696114_006ebedc4b_z

As announced last night at Boneta’s birthday party, the popular Gastown eatery’s time at 1 West Cordova is coming to a close. That might have caused some furrowed brows and maybe even a tear, but fret not, as owners Jeremie, Mark and Neil aren’t finished just yet. As a wise old man once said, now this is not the end. It is not even the beginning of the end. But it is, perhaps, the end of the beginning…

Here’s the exclusive skinny.

In February of next year, Boneta will close and reopen in a new location just a lob wedge away in a new Gastown development known as The Garage. You know that mysterious courtyard spot (prone to a dozen rumours since completed last year) behind L’Abattoir and the original Shebeen, the one that’s all glassed in and brand spanking new? That’s it: 2,222 sqft of prime virgin space with entrances through Gaoler’s Mews, Water St., and Blood Alley.

I checked it out as a temporary “pop-up” gallery in the Spring and hoped against hope that it would be turned into a restaurant once it was finished. It’s one of those unique, totally killer spots that is set back from the street, away from the drifting weekend Red Bull yahoos and Old Spaghetti Factory tourists. If anyone could make it work, it’s these guys (kudos to Robert Fung of The Salient Group for getting that).

What does it give Boneta that it didn’t have before? An 800 sqft solarium equipped with five sliding doors; floor to ceiling glass and a roof that’s over 30% glass; a U-shaped bar with 12 seats; a year round heated and covered courtyard patio  for 12 (think Brix); and brand new everything from electric to A/C.

They’re downsizing the seating capacity a little, from 100+ to 65-75, but I’ll be the last to complain about that as I think intimate is better for the concept than spread out. The artwork – something Boneta is known for – will be making the move, too, as will much of the original room’s motifs (they’re hoping to recycle/reclaim plenty).

As regular readers and diners might remember, they were only supposed to be in the Cordova location for one year, but one year turned to two, and now three is enough. They had a countdown clock on their website when they first opened back in 2007 (now long gone), and they hope to get it back up soon to let diner’s know how much time they have left to enjoy the original, which will be sorely missed.

For my part, I’ve had a lot of good times and made many friends in that room. I’m sure that’s the case with many of you as well. Join us in digging it while it lasts… Read more

Celebrating Three Years Since Boneta Arrived On The Scene…

BNTA_3YR_SCOUT

One of my favourite joints in town, Boneta, turns 3 years old tomorrow, and you know they’re going to throw down with a party to celebrate. Three DJ sets will be spun, including one by co-owner Mark Brand and his Sharks+Hammers/Sea Monstr Sushi partner Alex Usow. They’re extending the invite to those Scout readers who are regulars. I wager it’ll be a rager. See you there.

Gastown’s Boneta Scores Shiny New License, Now 7 Days & Nights

February 13, 2010 

3114696114_afcdda65d3_o

Boneta Restaurant is located in the heart of Gastown at 1 West Cordova St. | 604-684-1844 | www.boneta.ca

News from Scout supporter Boneta

Vancouver, BC | Boneta promised a celebration when the Olympics arrived, so how about this:
Now open noon until very late 7 Days a Week until March.

Lunches were sorely missed, not least of all by us, and now you can enjoy that last course until the conversation dwindles into the wee hours. Thank you shiny new license.

After almost three years Jeremie’s kitchen continues offering comfortable yet elegant dinners satisfying the staunchest of foodies along with the after service Poutine addicts. Read more

Boneta To Host A Very Special Fundraising Dinner This Monday

January 21, 2010 

Boneta-Dining-Room

Boneta Restaurant teams up with Team Finn to raise funds for the BC Cancer Foundation this Monday

News from Scout supporter Boneta

UPDATE: THIS EVENT HAS SOLD OUT

Vancouver, BC | Boneta Restaurant located in Vancouver’s historic Gastown, in association with Team Finn, from the Ride to Conquer Cancer, will be hosting a wonderful fundraising dinner for the BC Cancer Foundation Monday, January 25th, 2010 starting at 6:30pm.

All proceeds from this dinner will go to sponsor Team Finn’s Ride to Conquer Cancer (benefiting the BC Cancer Foundation) which will take place June 19-20, 2010. Over this two day ride starting in Vancouver, traveling the Pacific Coast to Seattle, Team Finn hopes to raise over a quarter of a million dollars for the BC Cancer Foundation. Team Finn rides for Finn Sullivan, a courageous little boy who after living a life of Running, Jumping, Bouncing, Dancing, Singing, Loving, Smiling and Riding died on October 9, 2008 at the age of three from a rare form of childhood cancer. Get all the details after the jump. Read more

McGillivray And Boneta Amicably Part Ways

There have been some rumblings about this for some time, but now it’s official. Andre McGillivray is no longer an owner at the multiple award-winning Boneta restaurant in Gastown.

This is disappointing personally, as I felt he defined the place as much as his (now former) partners did (Mark Brand, Neil Ingram, and Jeremie Bastien). I’ll miss him there, as I’ve met few FOH personages who are anywhere near as entertaining. In my trade it’s uncool to have favourites, but then again I’ve never been very cool.

After a few minutes in the dark recesses of my archives, I was able to dig up the video above. It shows Andre, ridiculously bearded, ordering last minute essentials on the night before Boneta opened. The photo below shows Neil, Andre and chef Jeremie while the restaurant was under construction.

The copy of the press release will read as follows:

Happy New Year from Boneta!

First off, Boneta announces that partners Neil Ingram, Jeremie Bastien and Mark Brand have parted ways amicably in business with Andre McGillivray. All of us wish Andre the utmost success with his future endeavors.

Secondly, we would like to thank all of you for your extremely generous donations over the holidays. Your generosity helped us to raise over $1700 for the Food Bank. This translates to over $5000 worth of food for families who cannot feed themselves in these difficult times. Our sincere thanks to everyone who participated this year!

And thirdly Boneta would simply like to wish very happy New Year to all our friends and family out there; we can’t wait to see you in 2009 because, of course, Boneta loves you!

xoxo

Good luck with whatever comes next, Andre.

——————————————————–

Andrew Morrison is a west coast boy who studied history and classics at the Universities of Cape Town and Toronto after an adolescence spent riding skateboards and working in restaurants. He is the editor of Scout Magazine, the weekly food and restaurant columnist for the Westender newspaper, and a contributor to Vancouver and Western Living magazines.

——————————————————–

Boneta

October 4, 2008 

Details

12 Water Street, Vancouver BC
Telephone: 604-684-1844
Email: info@boneta.ca
Web: www.boneta.ca | Facebook | Twitter
Hours: 7 days a week 5:30 – Late

Gallery

[flickrset id="72157631542378189" thumbnail="square" photos="" overlay="true" size="large"]

The Team

Owners: Mark Brand, Neil Ingram
General Manager: Simon Kaulback
Bar Manager: Ben de Champlain

About


Boneta loves you.

Our seasonal menu, updated weekly, offers modern European comfort food paired with a beautifully chosen wine list and classic custom cocktails. The lounge and speak easy bar encourages impromptu socializing while the main dining room provides secret hideaways and insider views to the open kitchen. Service is relaxed and attentive with an atmosphere that is energetic and warm. Here you will find unapologetic feasting in a gorgeous Gastown setting. Welcome to Vancouver.

Awards

Scout Magazine
2012 Bartender of the Year – Ben de Champlain

EnRoute Magazine
Top 10 New Restaurants in Canada 2008

Vancouver Magazine 2008 Restaurant Awards
Best New Informal – Gold
Design of the Year – Gold
Best Service – Bronze
Best Bar/ Lounge – Bronze
Sommelier of the Year – Neil Ingram

Where Magazine
Top 10 New Restaurants in Canada 2008

Georgia Straight 2008 Golden Plate Awards
Critic’s Choice Best New Casual – Gold
Reader’s Choice Best New Downtown – Bronze

The Courier Stars of Vancouver 2008 Reader’s Choice Awards
Best New Restaurant – Silver

Food & Wine Magazine
Go List 2008 – One of 332 outstanding restaurants in the world