Little Juke, the new 22 seat West End version of Chinatown’s Juke Fried Chicken, is on the verge of opening at 1074 Davie Street. If all goes well, it could open softly for friends and family on Thursday and then quietly operate trial services through the weekend. They would then close Monday and Tuesday to rest, retool and recalibrate before finally opening the public on Wednesday, August 29.
I toured the 1,100 sqft space yesterday afternoon, just as owners Cord Jarvie, Justin Tisdall and Bryan Satterford were taking down the paper from the windows. They still have some work to do, but they’re getting very close. Here’s what we wrote about it when Scout broke the news of its coming back in early July:
The Davie St. strip in the West End feels right for a stable, well-received, homegrown winner like Juke. The location was previously home to the woefully short-lived Souvlaki & Co., which replaced the equally false-started Meat City sandwich shop, which replaced the entirely appropriately named Hell pizzeria, which replaced the…you get the idea.
This address could use some success, and Juke – which does a brisk trade with delivery companies like Doordash – could use the expansion of their deliverable radius. (This takes them into Kitsilano and the whole of the West End and Coal Harbour.)
I met up with the team inside the space shortly after they got the keys. They were in there going over their prize, taking measurements, squinting in the corners, inspecting the vents and generally making plans. It’s a huge kitchen, basically a turnkey op, but it’ll need some work and TLC before it’s ready to play Juke’s precise, consistent game.
There are some cool toys here that will make this location’s menu a little different than the original’s. For example, they’ve inherited a huge Rotisol machine, so we can expect to see some rotisserie birds on offer alongside the regular deep-fried options (still gluten-free, as always). They also have a milkshake machine here, so expect some thick shakes too.
I don’t imagine we’ll see a bar here like they have in Chinatown, but that doesn’t mean they won’t be putting in an application for a liquor license straight away. Come opening day, we should be able to enjoy draft beer, wine and a couple of cocktails — maybe even a boozy shake or two if we’re lucky.
Unfortunately, there’s a good chance they won’t have their liquor license on opening day. The owners say their application has been submitted and they feel the green light is still a couple of weeks away. When it arrives, we’ll see good stuff flowing from the few taps (Strange Fellows, Postmark, Moody Ales to start) plus several cans, among them a rotating brew from Superflux. They’ll also serve a couple of batched cocktails (rotating Mules, Negronis, Old Fashioneds) and four different thick shakes.
As originally stated, the food menu is going to be a little different at Little Juke. In addition to the fried and rotisserie chicken options, they’ll offer a larger iteration of their much-loved chicken sandwich (with a spicy option) and a completely different style of rib. These will be individually cut, fried and tossed in nuoc cham sauce with peanuts and cilantro, which sounds especially delicious. Bonus: mac n’ cheese poppers.
The interior design has come along simply. The main feature wall hasn’t received its mural treatment yet, but the wee “chickadee” neon is up above the counter, echoing the Chinatown location’s interior neon, which was originally used as a set prop in the locally-filmed TV show, Intelligence. (In the show, “Chickadee” was a seedy strip club. The Penthouse on Seymour St. was its stand-in.) Other details worth noting that recall the Juke brand are the red brick blocks and interesting light fixtures, one of which (in the front window) found its way to Vancouver via Scott Landon Antiques and an upstate New York insane asylum.
Take a look…