It was too bad Big Trouble didn’t last. The little restaurant at 237 Union Street (formerly The Parker) closed last month, too quickly for anyone to properly get to know it. But life goes on.
Even though the 25 seater in Strathcona/Chinatown doesn’t have a hood vent or a ton of storage, it’s in a solid location right on the bike route, and there are great neighbours on the block that should help build a foundational customer base (eg. Charlie & Lee, Harvest, Noize To Go Records, The Union Bar, etc.). It won’t be long before it reopens as something new…perhaps as soon as January.
The 587 sqft space has just been picked up by first time restaurateurs Adam Merpaw and Zach Buckman (above, center/right). The pair of FOH veterans met working at Tap & Barrel in Olympic Village, which is also where they found their chef, Martin Keyer (above, left). Together they plan to spend the next month or so retooling the interior to create a gourmet sandwich and craft beer hangout called The Tuck Shoppe.
The name is a campy nod to Merpaw’s halcyon memories of Ontario cottage country. It’ll be hard to achieve a rustic Canadiana feel in the very modern space (it’s all concrete and glass), so I’m curious to see in what direction they’ll go. I spied a Hudson’s Bay striped pillow on my walk-through the other day, so maybe it’s that-away, with plenty of sunshine smoothing all the flat surfaces and hard edges (this address gets a LOT of sunlight).
We can expect six sandwiches on the menu, plus a bunch of snacks, salads, and treats like housemade fruit roll-ups and ice cream sandwiches. Though the sandwiches aren’t a done deal yet, the owners mentioned particulars like a pork belly cubano; a tuna katsu number (sounds awesome); and a veggie sandwich stuffed with curried cauliflower, crispy chickpeas and yogurt. They’re also looking at selling candy, retail-style, which is to say that I don’t think they’re taking themselves too seriously, which is always refreshing. As far as beer is concerned, they’re going to install a small keg/tap system so they can get four beers and a cider to pull, as well as one red and one white wine selected with the assistance of David Stansfield, a somm who conveniently lives just around the corner.
As you can see from the images below, the place is currently a mess, so I’ll be checking back in again just after Christmas as opening day nears…