There’s a Special Place for Ping’s Cafe in Vancouver’s Restaurant Graveyard

Photo by Cory Dawson via

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!

Opened at the height of the 2008 financial crisis by Josh Olson and his aunt, Hiroko Yamamoto, the strikingly stylish Ping’s Cafe served up Japanese yoshoku-style comfort foods like tonkatsu and “hambagoo” steaks in the heart of Mt. Pleasant. Named after one of the building’s previous tenants from the 1980s (the faded signage of which still hung above the awning frame), the restaurant was not a little misunderstood and lasted less than a year. The address – 2702 Main Street (currently Burdock & Co.) – would later become home to chef Andrey Durbach and Chris Stewart’s short-lived Cafeteria.

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There are 3 comments

  1. Such a great spot. And they had that huge Rodney Graham painting on the back wall…

  2. Ping’s in the ’70s was interesting, a worse than average example of the gradually disappearing greasy spoons, but not without a bit of entertainment value. No such thing as brown bread, grease-ridden bacon & eggs, horrible hamburgers, yet still I went there on occasion and introduced a friend to it, advising him that the safest thing was a cheese sandwich–slice of processed cheese on white bread with a hint of lettuce. The front end was handled by an older (>60) Chinese woman and the kitchen by a Chinese man of similar age, whom without much evidence I assumed were wife and husband. Mrs Ping would take the order and then scream it in Chinese through the cut-out to the kitchen to Mr Ping. I mean scream. Possibly Mr Ping was hard of hearing. The order sounded like a lengthy tirade. (This was my only evidence for assuming they were married.) My friend asked how it could take so many words to say “2 cheese sandwiches” since they didn’t come with any options. I told him that to me it sounded like she was prefacing the order with a condemnation of his ancestors and following it with a warning not to use as much lettuce as on the last one or they’d soon be out of business. Didn’t work. Even though the lettuce was as scanty as anyone could have wanted, I don’t think the restaurant under their ownership survived into the ’80s.

  3. Too bad for this 2nd version. it was timing not concept or menu. I loved it and all people I speak to remember it well. ;(

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