Chambar Shines Dine Out In Newspaper Ad

Dine Out Vancouver either teases or twists the nipples of locals. Some love it. Others hate it. This ad for Crosstown’s Chambar restaurant, found in this week’s Georgia Straight, leans rather convincingly toward the latter. Not everyone enjoys being harnessed to the trough, I guess. I hope they get some extra action as a consequence, and trust those at Tourism Vancouver who are charged with organising Dine Out recognise smart marketing when they see it. They might even venture a giggle.

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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.

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There are 11 comments

  1. Last year during dine out, I was grateful that where I worked which didn’t participate, was able to cater to guests that were seeking for intimate dining experience with great food and in many cases some r-e-a-l-l-y nice wine, especially those who wanted to celebrate special occasions. It makes sense that more nicer restaurants are listening…

  2. We know that it’s attractive during times of economic uncertainty to get a $25 or $35 meal, however the dining experience is also important.

    Experienced Dine Out patrons know that the two-week event means limited menu choices, surly service staff, and quick turns on the tables. We don’t feel right about shuffling people through Chambar to eat the same 3 options for two weeks. There is a reason we dine out, it’s to be in an atmosphere where we can escape for an evening to enjoy great food and service.

    If you haven’t had a chance to dine at Chambar for a while, you’ll notice something different when you walk into the back dining room. Where there was once a solid wall is now a narrow antique door from Egypt. Through this door is the restaurant’s new cozy dining room, which holds about 40 people. With its massive windows looking out to the Vancouver skyline, this new room is the perfect place to warm up with some moules frites and ask to sample our other new addition – Chambar Ale, it’s brilliant.

    p.s. If you’re looking for value for money, we’re still cheaper than Earls.

  3. You can see the new 40 seat room and the Egyptian door that Karri mentions in a gallery of shots I took soon after it was finished here (and a couple while it was under construction here). I’ve been by a few times in the last week (most recently before and after game against San Jose) and downed a small army of those Chambar Ales. Lovely stuff. Pre-game jitter quenching and post-loss comforting. Liquid mommy.

  4. “Experienced Dine Out patrons know that the two-week event means limited menu choices, surly service staff, and quick turns on the tables.”

    With all due respect (and I have boatloads of it for both Karri and Chambar), and while I can’t speak for others, I do have to disagree with this statement. When I have run Dine Out at both Aurora Bistro and now Salt Tasting Room, it has always been on the condition with owners that a) the Dine Out menu is offered IN ADDITION to regular menu choices, which simply increases options rather than limits them and b) we do not reduce our estimated seating time for guests. Regardless of time of year or promotion, I have never and would never tolerate a surly service staff.

    Dine Out Vancouver does not necessarily mean that a restaurant has to reduce quality in any capacity in favour of making a quick buck.

    Oh, and before anyone gets excited and might perceive this as drama, I should point out that I have seen what Karri describes as far as Dine Out experiences go more often than not around the city and agree with her that it is quite unfortunate that for many people that has become the typical DOV experience. I’m just pointing out that this is not the case everywhere.

    I am also, of course, not throwing any digs toward Chambar – I have certainly never had a negative Chambar experience. Karri and I have both a professional and social relationship, and the majority of her staff are close friends of mine, practically family and vice versa. This, plus the fact that I have pretty much been a weekly patron of Chambar since (literally) the day they opened their doors. I believe I am personally putting Max, her firstborn, through university.

  5. I can understand Chambar’s stance on this. They have a reputation in the city and an event like DOV makes them an attractive venue for those who do not frequent their establishment. I had a friend in from out of town last year during DOV and she wanted to try Chambar as she had heard it was very good. Unfortunately, when we arrived, it was just so busy that our experience was not going to be what it should be…the Chambar folks even suggested that we leave, gave us another location not in DOV, and come back another time when DOV wasn’t happening.

    In the end, it is their business. And boycotting DOV is getting them more press than participating ever would. Hmmmmm, I kinda want to go tonight!

  6. We had the misfortune to go to Chambar’s last Dine-out. We were greeted (and made to wait) at the door by the manager who proceeded to share his opinion of how much he loathed Dine-out because of the hordes and those who come for the food but don’t drink (I hadn’t known it was a requirement).

    The solution would have been quite simple. Don’t book so many seatings and do like other restaurants do – take the opportunity to show people what fine food can come out of a Vancouver kitchen and give them a deal on it to attract them (which also opens up dining to those who may not be quite that wealthy).

    And now the campaign against Dine-out itself. Yes, Chambar you really do stand out. Fortunately most other Vancouver restaurants do so based on providing great food, excellent service and value for money.

  7. I think the ad is great. Any one in the industry who has worked a Dine Out can attest, but as Kurtis also points out, it can be a great way to filter new food enthusiasts and repeat visitors out of the throngs of invariably cheap hoi polloi. You know, the hot water and lemon people.

    Oh and just a note to Andrew, why no Beyond Robson in the links?

  8. A very, very old advertising adage comes to mind — it says, more or less, that a bad ad is one that doesn’t offend anyone. By those standards, and the posts on here, this is likely an ok ad. I wonder if the right people are offended, though? I noticed that next week’s ad said “With all due respect” across the top…

    The people who would “get” this ad are largely foodies, (being regular year-round patrons) and industry. The people who read the Straight encompass a greater reach than that, so I would wonder what the general masses see when they read it. I doubt they think it’s witty. It may even look a bit snotty and elitist. There’s no explanation to why Chambar isn’t participating.

    I guess had it been me doing that ad up, at that size and cost (the Staight ain’t cheap) I would have at least given a bit more info, as Kerri does in her post here. Or perhaps banked those dollars and communicated a different message another day. Communicating non-participation to those of us who don’t want to “do” Dine Out can be reached by much cheaper means. But that’s me, and I’m a different breed of cat most days.

    I’m a huge fan of Chambar, and seeing this ad doesn’t affect my opinion of the restaurant, it’s owners and staff in that least. Just my two bits.
    C

  9. @ Sean Orr – There is now a link to Beyond Robson in our footer. My oversight.