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 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.