by Andrew Morrison | Thomas Eleizegui, the fellow behind the great little alleyway racing bike-centric hangout, Musette Caffe, secured Sean Heather’s old Everything Cafe space at 75 East Pender Street about three weeks ago. It will open as the second location of Musette in about seven to ten days. If you’ve never been to the original, take a look…
I took a peek inside the new Chinatown digs over Thanksgiving weekend. The long espresso bar and prep area still faces the buttoned-up burgundy banquette, but there are some cool new additions, like the detailed and beaten up lunch counter panels (via Scott Landon Antiques) and the amazing one-off chandelier made from bicycle parts (great job, Hayden and Lee!). The bike theme here will be more city-style than racing-style. Eleizegui is bringing in hand-made custom bikes as objets d’art, but considering the interesting array of collectibles and such at his original location, what the end result will look like is anyone’s guess. For sustenance, we can expect crepes, sandwiches, baked goods and the like paired with teas, 49th Parallel coffee, and an assortment of beers and wines from European “Grand Tour” locations. Musette Caffe will be open from 7:30am to 5pm at first, and will probably start keeping evening hours in the Spring.
The GOODS from Salt Tasting Room
Vancouver, BC | The Salt Cellar Series offers local wine and food pairings in the unique atmosphere of the Salt Cellar, below Salt Tasting Room. Two to three times a month, Salt Tasting Room opens up their cellar for guests to sample a tasting menu built around wines from a selected winery, paired with artisanal cheeses, charcuterie, and house-made condiments. On several occasions, the spotlight shifts from wine to showcase cheese, charcuterie, honey or Okanagan fruit. The Salt Cellar Series is the perfect opportunity to meet new people in a relaxing environment, seated around the 30-foot long communal table.
Upcoming Salt Cellar events feature the wines of leading producers from BC and abroad, hosted by the winemaker or winery representative to introduce each wine. Upcoming events include: Unsworth Vineyards on October 1st, Firesteed (an Oregon winery) on October 22nd, Noble Ridge Cellars on November 5th, and “Natural Wines” – an exploration into sustainable winemaking in the green era – on November 26th. Events start promptly at 7PM, and tickets can be purchased through our website. These unique dining experiences are not to be missed, as they offer excellent value for those who appreciate tasting plates, exploring new wines, and having them professionally paired. Get all the details after the jump. Read more
The GOODS from Rainier Provisions
Vancouver, BC | Rainier Provisions, Heather Hospitality’s Group’s delicatessen in Gastown’s historic Rainier Hotel, unveils its Paris-style patio—the first of its kind in Vancouver.
The 30-seat patio, reminiscent of Paris’s bustling street-front eateries, is a pilot project spearheaded by Sean Heather, co-owner of Rainier Provisions and the man behind Heather Hospitality Group. Heather was delighted when his application for the Lower Mainland’s first and only stand-alone patio—situated between West Cordova Street and the public sidewalk—was approved by the City of Vancouver and the BC Liquor Board.
Given Vancouver’s reputation as a “no fun city,” the green-lighting of Rainier Provisions’ patio project is a surprising and exciting prospect for the future of the city’s restaurant scene. The success of Rainier’s groundbreaking patio over the next 12 months could pave the way for other local restaurateurs to apply for licenses to open similar stand-alone patios.
Michael Green Architecture, an award-winning Vancouver-based firm that champions the use of timber in public and private structures, designed a wooden, ship-like frame for Rainier Provisions’ concept patio. Painted in a cool, Paul Smith colour palette, the space is a vibrant addition to Vancouver’s historical heartland. And, in compliance with the City of Vancouver’s stipulation that the patio be taken down on an as-needed basis to accommodate filming, the structure was specially designed to be easily uprooted.
Combining the energy of iconic New York delis, a flavour of London’s neighborhood cafes and a pinch of Gastown’s signature historic style, Rainier Provisions is an airy eating establishment, specialty coffee shop and carefully curated deli. Situated in the Classical Revival-style Rainier Hotel on the corner of West Cordova and Carrall streets, the 102-seat dining room showcases a restored 1907 mosaic floor, oversized heritage windows and exposed original brick. Read more
by Andrew Morrison (photos via Sean Heather) | The new location of Salt Tasting Room is in the midst of its second soft opening service tonight and will open for real this Tuesday. The 28 seater (with a patio) is located at 2585 West Broadway in the old Mistral address. We broke the news of its coming back in May:
“It’s a weird, fickle block. I say that because it has – in the recent past – felled the luminous likes of Lumiere, DB Bistro, and Mistral in short order. The dolled up “food to go” operation called Nosh – the one that opened in the space in January after Mistral shuttered – lasted a mere five months. I’m not privy to the details of the deal, but Heather has a knack for getting good ones, and I can’t imagine him advancing beyond Gastown if this particular dotted line wasn’t especially mesmerizing (I think it would have had to have been for him to take it). And while it’s true that Heather hasn’t opened a restaurant outside west of Abbott St. in years – not since the short-lived Lucky’s Diner in Yaletown – he knows the area well enough (“I’m happy to be back on the street that I spent four years of my life on as manager [at] Benny’s Bagels when I first arrived from Ireland in 1991,” he writes via email). But more importantly, Salt isn’t an unknown entity in Vancouver, and cured meat + cheese + wine is hardly a bumfuzzling equation anywhere except in vegan and vegetarian circles. People know it and dig it, so it could pretty well open in any address in this city – even off an alley that smells awfully of pee – and folks would still give it a shot. SHort version: it’s a win for the west side.”
The new location is open from 4pm until midnight, Tuesday through Sunday.
by Andrew Morrison | If you moseyed down Carrall St. over the weekend – just going about your gentrifying business – you may have noticed that a colourful patio next to Rainier Provisions was under construction. It’s a “Paris patio”, and by that I mean it’s physically disconnected from the business and semi-permanent (ie. the frame isn’t packed up each night and stowed indoors). It’s the sort of patio that cities get when they grow up. It’s very likely that a lot of Vancouverites have never seen one before. Don’t be alarmed.
Why not call it a “Vancouver patio”? Look at the photos above. See that seven or so feet of sidewalk between the patio and the restaurant? That – according to the asshats who wrote BC’s liquor licensing rules in 782 AD – is where the dragons live. Just imagine the chaos that would ensue if a tray of beer were to cross that no man’s land! It’s a horror to envision the carnage, the sin, the shame. We’re talking fire and brimstone, folks, all the worst kinds of Old Testament stuff…
You get the idea. But it turns out that when it came time for Rainier to assemble its patio plans, co-owner Sean Heather put in his application to the dragon believers with two designs, one that incorporated the “Paris patio” and one that did not. The City initially said they weren’t interested in the former (knowing full well that BC Liquor wouldn’t go for it), but then something weird happened. Out of the blue, like a bolt from the thunderbelt of Zeus, the City called back, seemingly motivated to see it happen and saying that there were – WTF – like-minded people over at the old Ministry of Dragons. And you know what? There actually were.
The Paris patio – which is beautiful (its colours are anchored by my favourite shade of green) and now pretty much complete – is only an experiment, so don’t expect our streets to resemble that of Le Marais or Trastevere any time soon. It’s being treated as an island of sorts, an island for potential grown-ups. From what we’ve learned, it must have a
babysitter staff member present at all times (because of the dragons) so a runner will be delivering all food and drink. In other words, the rules are still as silly as you would imagine them to be. But it’s one small step in the right direction, and a giant leap towards no longer believing in the existence of dragons. The pilot project has a lifespan of 12 months, after which we’ll either see the powers relax their unofficial, Puritanical, stifling, no-fun sphincters or keep them tight and titular (because dragons).
In the words of Sean Heather, “We better not fuck it up, because if it all works out it will be a good thing for everyone.” Too right.
by Andrew Morrison | Sean Heather has confirmed that he and business partner Scott Hawthorn have picked up the old Mistral location at 2585 West Broadway. Residents can expect the second location of the Gastown icon, Salt Tasting Room, to open there next month. From what I know of the space, it’s 28 or so seats with several on a wee patio, plus a larger than necessary kitchen for Salt-like operations (as to whether or not that means we’ll see a lot more than just cheese and charcuterie on the menu I do not know at this point).
What to think? It’s a weird, fickle block. I say that because it has – in the recent past – felled the luminous likes of Lumiere, DB Bistro, and Mistral in short order. The dolled up “food to go” operation called Nosh - the one that opened in the space in January after Mistral shuttered – lasted a mere five months. I’m not privy to the details of the deal, but Heather has a knack for getting good ones, and I can’t imagine him advancing beyond Gastown if this particular dotted line wasn’t especially mesmerizing. I think it would have had to have been for him to take it. And while it’s true that Heather hasn’t opened a restaurant outside west of Abbott St. in years – not since the short-lived Lucky’s Diner in Yaletown – he knows the area well enough (“I’m happy to be back on the street that I spent four years of my life on as manager [at] Benny’s Bagels when I first arrived from Ireland in 1991,” he writes via email). But more importantly, Salt isn’t an unknown entity in Vancouver, and cured meat + cheese + wine is hardly a bumfuzzling equation anywhere except in vegan and vegetarian circles. People know it and dig it, so it could pretty well open in any address in this city – even off an alley that smells awfully of pee – and folks would still give it a shot. In short, it’s definitely a win for the west side.
Expect opening day at some point in June.
NOTE: Scout is not accepting wagers on how long it will take before the DTES anti-gentrification set misconstrues this development as a major victory.
by Andrew Morrison | The Everything Cafe has closed down after three years at 75 East Pender (next to the Wing Sang building). The cafe seemingly did a brisk enough trade, but not enough for owner Sean Heather, who plans a rebrand and reopening, possibly as soon as mid-April. He’s thinking about doing a new creperie concept, which would be open from 8am to 9pm with coffee, wine and beer. Quality crepes are few and far between in Vancouver, so – pre-supposing that it’s good – this is a win. Downside/upside: those who feel robbed of the Stumptown coffee hook-up that the Everything Cafe so dependably provided (that would be me) can get sorted out nearby at the recently opened Rainier Provisions.
The GOODS from The Irish Heather
Vancouver, BC | The Irish Heather Gastropub is hosting two very special evenings for whisk(e)y lovers this month in its Shebeen hideaway and on its Long Table. The first falls on the relative calm of St. Patrick’s Day Eve (March 16th), and will focus squarely on Jameson’s whiskies. The second goes down on the night of March 19th, and will feature the whiskies of Glenlivet. Both events will feature deep, lengthy whisk(e)y flights and include traditional suppers (roast beef, Yorkshires, for example), desserts. Get all the details for both events after the jump… Read more
Rainier Provisions will open up to the public Tuesday, February 12. Photos above were taken at yesterday’s soft opening to friends and family. The new delicatessen, on the corner of Carrall and Cordova, will be in the business of deep-seated cravings well met. They’re serving up British bangers, charcuterie, cheeses, great coffee (Stumptown, FTW), excellent salads, and much more at good prices. A plate of roast beef, yorkshire pudding, braised greens, roast potatoes and gravy? $10. No lie. Explore further here.
UPDATE: Previous copy said that Rainier Provisions would open today (Friday). Sadly, that is not the case. Doors are “officially” set to swing open Tuesday morning.
by Andrew Morrison | Rainier Provisions, the long anticipated new delicatessen from Gastown/DTES restaurateur Sean Heather (see also Salt Tasting Room, Bitter, Judas Goat, The Irish Heather, et cetera), is – as you can see from the shots below – inching closer to opening day. Stumptown Coffee’s Matt Pfaff was up from Seattle yesterday to help train the staff, and the finishing touches were being done to the decor. Very shortly we’ll see the retail shelves filled with all manner of foodstuffs and the display cases stocked with a selection of Spanish, French, Italian, and UK cheeses, several types of cured meat from East Hastings’ Moccia & Urbani, awesome D-Original sausages, eggs fresh from Rabbit River Farms, and other tasty bits besides. Service will also see daily bangers, a gluten free pasta, vegan chili, and a roast of sorts (eg. beef, porchetta). Rainier Provisions will be licensed, too, so expect bourbon to rule with 18 different types supplemented by six beers on tap (including growler size) and a couple of reds and whites by the glass. Opening day should be between the end of Dine Out and Valentine’s Day, which would put it almost 13 months behind its original January 2012 target date (shit happens). They’re aiming specifically for the 9th of February, with fingers crossed.
THEN (SEPTEMBER 2011)
NOW (JANUARY 2013)
The GOODS from Bitter Tasting Room
Vancouver, BC | This Friday, November 30th at 5pm, Bitter Tasting Room is pleased to present the 1st Annual Movember Shave Off. Bitter is teaming up with R&B Brewing and professional barber Paul Donnici of the Belmont Barbershop to get you cleaned up in style. Your $10 donation to men’s health gets you a proper shave and trim with complementary refreshment. Be there and get that lip bared! Entry is by $10 donation, which includes a shave and trim, with complementary refreshment. Read more
by Andrew Morrison | If you’re a food lover and you’ve wandered Gastown’s many blocks in the past few weeks you may have noticed a great many number of things. For starters, Lily Mae’s is now open on Powell and serving French-ish comfort food (mmm, Boeuf Bourguignon), and further down the same block the new location of Rodney’s Oyster House has opened in the old Cobre spot (from Yaletown with love). What’s more, a pretty damn cool chocolate/coffee roasting operation is under construction on Carrall (details/photos shortly)
It’s not all good news, though. The not so Secret Location on Water St. looks to be still something of a secret (pity the bored hostess standing outside in the rain), and even though Sean Heather and Scott Hawthorn (Salt Tasting Room, Judas Goat) look to be nearly finished with their build of Rainier Provisions on the southwest corner of Cordova and Carrall, we still have a while to wait. They’re getting it gussied (as you can see in the photos above) so it will pass its inspections early enough for them to use the space for commissary purposes and for large Christmas parties during the holiday season. Heather says the highly anticipated neighbourhood victualling station will “hit the ground running” in early January.
Take a look at how the space appeared when we first reported on it back in September of last year…
Bitter Tasting Room at 16 West Hastings finally got the green light it needed to open their little, super secluded patio. This shot (sent in by Sean Heather) is from early last night during set up.