Remember This Short-Lived Little Vegetarian Wine Bar on the Edge of Chinatown?

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

The Parker was a small, 500 sqft., 20 seat vegetarian restaurant opened by Steve Da Cruz and Martin Warren in late September, 2012 on the well-travelled Chinatown/Strathcona block of Union Street. A third partner, Tiffany Easton, came on later.

Despite its tight quarters, The Parker felt a little bigger than it actually was. This was no doubt the result of the wall of mirrors that rose above the wooden banquette seating, but it also had plenty to do with the restaurant’s lofty ambitions. It tried to play as many angles as it could, hosting wine- and sake-pairing dinners, serving up lengthy dégustation menus and happy hour prix fixes, even weekend brunch.

Over the course of its three-year run, The Parker featured the inventive, always interesting cooking of three different executive chefs: Jason Leizert, Curtis Luk and Felix Zhou (in order of appearance). The menus changed often and were complimented by a short wine list and an extensive cocktail card.

Despite its best efforts, the little spot never really took off. The Parker closed in the summer of 2015, the owners rebranding the place into a new concept called Big Trouble (a particularly apt name considering it took just four months for it to shutter as well). Though the kitchen space was extremely limited, chef Felix Zhou’s menu for the place read beautifully (eg. “Peking quail over golden beet purée with puffed wild rice”), which is to say it’s a shame it didn’t get time to settle and shine.

The address is now home to The Tuck Shoppe, a casual sandwich spot.

    There are 2 comments

    1. I was always puzzled why The Parker closed. It was very difficult to get a seat there. Some of the best vegan food the city has ever seen.

    2. Vegan/Vegetarianism food has only been en vogue since like 2016, with a major uptick in the last two years. Although it is interesting since Acorn and Heirloom managed to survive and expand (Arbor) and the “chainletization” of Heirloom. MeeT opened later but also managed to survive and expand – see chainletization.

      2018 saw the launch of a vegan burger at a major canadian fast food chain. Veganism/Vegetarianism is totally a place where big chains could capitalize on and charge a premium for.

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