If you haven’t been able to get in to try the Spanish-inspired food and drink at Tempranillo yet, you better do it quick because the little Gastown restaurant – which turned one year old just this very week – is closing very soon.
Co-owner/chef Bill Robitaille reached out with the unfortunate news this afternoon after he was unable to reach a new lease agreement with his landlord who, we’re told, lives in the United States. “We told her what we were looking for as far as a rate and she agreed that it was reasonable but then she came back at us that she wanted to probably sell the place and would we be interested,” Robitaille shared today via email. “We replied yes but it depends on the price. She told us that she was looking at $900k to one million for the 680 square foot place and that was not a price we would pay so we declined. Then we asked about a long term lease and she came back that she is selling for sure and gave us three options for a lease which was fine but all three options had a clause of eviction for when the place was sold to a new owner.”
Obviously, this was hardly a tenable situation. Having a three month to five month eviction clause attached to its new lease would mean a sword of Damocles would hang over Tempranillo at all times, so I can’t say I’m surprised Robitaille and his partner didn’t make the ridiculous commitment.
The final service is being scheduled for June 2nd. I asked Robitaille about his future plans, to which he replied that he would “probably hang up the apron and retire from the industry. I have had a great career that spanned over 30 years and have met and worked with some pretty fine people and some I can call good friends.”