Remembering the East Van Cafe That Was Magic for Little Kids and Their Parents

Scout’s new evolving Restaurant Graveyard series looks back at the countless, long-shuttered establishments that helped propel Vancouver’s food and drink forward. Full A-Z with maps and photos here. May they never be forgotten!

Kids were encouraged to run guiltlessly, joyously amok at Little Nest, a memorable (if often outrageously loud) counter-service cafe off The Drive. Opened in 2007, the sprawling gift to parents run ragged was owned and operated by Mary MacIntyre, a former Lumiere pastry chef who actually gave a damn about the food Vancouver restaurants were feeding little ones.

Unfortunately, Mary’s landlord was of the especially greedy sort, reportedly increasing her rent by 100% over the course of the restaurant’s six year run and ultimately forcing its closure in 2013 by demanding a further 50% increase.

Though other kid-friendly establishments have opened in Vancouver since, none have captured Little Nest’s one-of-a-kind neighbourhood den mother vibe.

  • IMG_6870
  • IMG_6859
  • IMG_6857
  • IMG_6852
  • IMG_6856
  • IMG_6849
  • IMG_6842
  • IMG_6841
  • IMG_6837
  • IMG_6839

There are 9 comments

  1. Oh! Thanks Andrew! As I sit in my peacefully quiet home in the Australian countryside, lovely to get a little reminder of my previous life??

  2. Hi, I’m a mother of 3 children, nana to 6 granchildren and great nana to 2 ( so far) and i just had to comment after reading about this awesome lady, Mary Macintyre, and the child friendly ( and from the sound of it, very much loved and missed!) cafe! We never lived close to Commercial but really wish we had known about this little piece of heaven..( we went to Big Scoop, Lim’s Inn, Rosa’s Cafe and Eddie’s, all on Fraser Street..and one by one, they too became only memories, albeit good ones! But still, i wish we had visited this wonderfully magic cafe, in which children were encouraged to be children, and do what comes natural…be children!!????????

  3. I SO VERY MUCH miss this place. Loved the food, service, and carefree vibe. Haven’t found anything that’s come close, which gives me mixed feelings.

  4. It was a lovely place! Wonderful coffee too. To this day I wish that it were still around.

  5. Don’t have kids and still miss this place so much! Nowhere to get a breakfast nearly that good – and that rice pudding!

  6. Living on Commercial Drive, Little Nest was the centre of my universe while I was on mat leave. I miss it so much!

  7. Pistachio cake, anyone?

    My wife and I used to live in Kitsilano, and would regularly make the trek (pilgrimage?) to Little Nest for the always-delicious food. This was our go-to place after the Saturday farmers’ market.

    Of course, Mary’s sweet treats were all spectacular, but I still crave the pistachio cake. I’ll dream of it tonight!

The Slick, Pacific Rim-Inspired Restaurant Was a Yaletown Fixture for Five Years

Goldfish Pacific Kitchen was a professionally-run, West Coast meets Asian restaurant owned by the legendary Bud Kanke.

Remembering the West End’s Charming Ligurian Restaurant and Its Stunning Patio

The 110-seat restaurant and bar specialized in the regional cuisine of Liguria, with seafood dishes figuring highly.

Remembering Master Chef Cafe, One of East Van’s Last Greasy Spoons

A cash-only spot to the end, the friendly Master Chef Cafe was in operation on East Hastings from 1953 until 2014.

May the Prettiest Restaurant in Kitsilano Rest in Peace

From 2016 to 2021, the award-winning Mak N Ming consistently met guest's high expectations with sincerity and skill.