The Parker in Chinatown To Reopen As “Big Trouble” Restaurant Early Next Week

by Andrew Morrison | As noted in our Community News section last week, vegetarian eatery The Parker will be closing down at the end of this week. It should reopen the following week – if all goes according to plan – with a brand new name and a modified concept.

The new Chinatown/Strathcona establishment will be called “Big Trouble”, and the food will be similar to The Parker’s, only Chef Feliz Zhou will be adding ethically sourced meats, poultry, and seafoods to the mix.

Though the vegetarian/vegan concept was much loved, I think it’s a wise move, as the protein additions will only serve to broaden the appeal of what was already a strong restaurant. They’ll still have plenty of plant-based options, and price points will stick to an accessible $10-$25 range. They’re also not veering from their green path, aiming for zero waste.


What’s in a name? I was thinking of the 1986 Kurt Russell film, Big Trouble in Little China, but here’s the official word: “We called it Big Trouble because it sounds fun and is probably more ironic than anything else, given our sustainable mandate and that we only hold about 24 troublemakers at any one time. You can still make trouble outside on our massive patio (seats 4) which is available for walk-in only this summer.”

From the bar, we can count on good cocktails, and co-owner Steve Da Cruz will be pouring from a new wine-pairing program featuring biodynamic producers. “Look for a little Pelaverga by the glass or maybe a bottle of Rol & Clairette alongside Lock & Worth’s sublime Cab Franc,” he says, adding that craft beers from 33 Acres and Four Winds will also be on hand.

From what I understand, the renovation is going to be minor. Expect the same bright, white and woody aesthetic, only with KAWS XX bulbs in charge of lighting (you might remember these beauties from the recent Grand Hotel exhibit at the VAG).


“After three years and a lot of success we’re really thrilled to see many restaurants with vegan, vegetarian and gluten-free options on their menus. It speaks to how fast our industry is willing to adapt […],” reads a draft statement that will officially announce Big Trouble in the coming days. “And after speaking with our clients over the past few weeks, the support for what we’re doing is solid and people are very excited. Nobody is more excited than us.” We’re crossing our fingers for a smooth transition. See you there.


There are 3 comments

  1. A “wise move” why—because there aren’t already enough places serving animal products? Where are the “many restaurants” with vegetarian and vegan options? Gastown in particular is meat-obsessed; not since the 1990s have I received the kind of blank stares, confusion, or even disdain I get when asking about veg options. Most restaurants have nothing; when they do, it’s something like the shredded beets and sliced squash I got at Tuc Craft Kitchen recently. This is supposed to be a complete meal? The mention of “protein additions” in the article could be taken to imply that there are no plant-based sources of protein, which is ridiculous. Clearly the owners of The Parker can do whatever they like, but this change is really disappointing for those of us who like to have a destination where you can eat pretty much anything on the menu and don’t have to spend ten minutes negotiating substitutions.

  2. Wow, first world problems up the wazoo. Clearly, the previous restaurant model wasn’t a thriving success so the owners are doing something different.

    Continue to put your money where your mouth is, and maybe your favourite vegetarian restaurants will stay open.

  3. Chris, your outrage is misdirected and far too late. If there was anyone to blame you might as well look at your neighbour. Where was the grassroots demand for different veg options and use in the restaurant scene where it matters? The taste makers and the money takers of the so called upper middle class establishments like cactus, milestones and etc? Sadly it’s there where people think that a patio with a beach side view means better food, but the result is the cheapest and easiest to accommodate tastes.

    Don’t take offence with the usual reference to “protein” as a cultural term the usual meats as opposed to use it as an inclusive term for all other ingredients that feature it. Be happy that they can stay a bit true to the original intent of the restaurant by using ethical sources.

    You complain how you need to spend 10 minutes looking for substitutions, but you had more than 10+ years to influence how vegan and vegetarian could be considered before this situation we find ourselves in. What’s worst that as an omnivore, even I find the majority of offerings in the city middling. We are in the same boat but not by any choice by the owners of the Parker and certainly not by the over abundance of proteins options.

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