by Andrew Morrison | I’ve been keenly watching the development of the highly anticipated Finch’s Market at Jackson and East Georgia in the heart of Strathcona, and not just because it’s around the corner from the Scout office. Since we first broke the news of its coming back in May, we’ve received a flood of messages, tweets, and comments asking all manner of questions, the most common of which have been when, when, and when again. Folks are stoked for this place, and for good reason. The original Finch’s on West Pender has something of a cult following as much for its cozy, timeless interior as for its simply constructed, super delicious and wholesome food. They do a baguette sandwich there with brie, prosciutto, balsamic and pears that…well, you probably know the sandwich already. It’s the stuff of legend, only it’s stuffed with legend.
As I noted in my original piece on the place, owner Jamie Smith pinned the opening date at some point in September (give or take interventions from the fickle restaurant gods). With September now almost upon us, I popped in yesterday to have a quick chat and a measure of the progress with Jamie. The place is looking pretty fantastic, so don’t let the above cell phone photo steer you into thinking otherwise. See that ceiling? It’s made up of 280 hand-placed, light aqua-coloured tiles. See all that sparkling white dry wall with the exposed ancient beams? It’s the same throughout the space; pristine yet aged. Notice all the natural light flowing in? Most of the windows are still boarded up, so imagine that shine multiplied by 6. Check the brick on the left, too. I’m pretty sure it’s the first time the location has seen its brick revealed in decades, and it appears to be pretty thrilled at showing itself off. What you don’t see is the prep kitchen behind the bar’s wall. It’s been sweetly kitted out courtesy of Craigslist, with only the fitting and dressing left to do.
All of this is to say that it’s still on track for September. Jamie – who has been doing nearly all the build work himself – is a man on a mission. I’d wager he won’t be unlocking the door before or around Labour Day, but I wouldn’t be surprised to find him welcoming his first customers in 30 or fewer days. And there will be much rejoicing.
For a closer look at the space (and to remember Jamie’s once clean overalls), take a look at some of our old photos from the start of construction after the jump… Read more
by Andrew Morrison | Finch’s Tea & Coffee House, the legendary lunch spot at 353 West Pender, is opening up a second location called Finch’s Market this September. The new cafe and market is currently under construction at 501 East Georgia in the heart of Strathcona. It’s worth getting into a tizzy over because owners Jamie Smith and Sheryl Matthews have only ever dealt in awesomeness at the original Finch’s, and the market aspect of the new location gives them an opportunity to shine in a different way. In addition to the soups, sandwiches, coffees and teas that we’ve come to know and love in the last 8 years (yes, we can expect the same blue-brie, pear, and prosciutto baguettes), we can anticipate lots of organic produce and artisan foods on the shelves (ie. a nice daily market), plus house made ice creams, popsicles and more. The property was until very recently a tiny grocery called U-Go-To Store, and it was one of those sketchy places where once could fairly question the provenance of the stock (even the candy bars were stale). About a month ago, the tenant, who had converted the rear of the shop into a 3 bedroom apartment, just up and moved back to China. When I met Jamie at the space today, all the dividing walls had been knocked down to reveal what was really a 1000+ sqft. space with old brick walls and original beams (these had previously been boarded up). The actual physical position of the building means that once the windows, too, are sorted out, light will spill in like mad. Suffice it to say, if you’ve ever been to Finch’s, you know the end result is going to be a cozy den of withering charm. It’s literally a block from the Scout office, so we’re stoked that something of quality is on its way in. I’m going to have a hell of a lot more detail on the upcoming place in my next WE column, so look out for the paper next Thursday. In the meantime, enjoy the pictures… Read more