Wildebeest opened five years ago today. The Gastown restaurant – an industry favourite since the day it launched (as evidenced by its perennial inclusion on the Scout 25) – was a long time coming for owners James Iranzad and Josh Pape. This was the their first restaurant together. They took possession of the raw space in the Autumn of 2011 and launched it 10 months later.
I remember opening night clearly (aided in part by the gallery below). The menu was a meaty one for David Gunawan, who has long since moved on to open the award-winning Farmer’s Apprentice and Grapes & Soda. (The chef at Wildebeest is now the very talented Alessandro Vianello.) Mmm, those smoked Castelvetrano olives and pork croquettes! Deliciousness abounded…
For their part, Iranzad and Pape have also expanded their horizons, opening Bufala in Kerrisdale and Supermarine in Kits (which has since become Lucky Taco). They are working currently working on another restaurant with new partner Nick Miller. It’s called Bells & Whistles, which is on track to open next month in the Fraserhood. To give you an even deeper look at Wildebeest’s beginnings, I’ve included the following photos, which show Iranzad and Pape soon after they got the keys to the place.
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