Five Years Ago Today, Inside the Mess That Would Become One of Gastown’s Busiest Restaurants

For this week’s edition of #ThrowbackThursday we look back exactly five years to the construction of the Cordova St. location of Tacofino

So it’s been five years since we poked our heads into what would eventually become the spectacularly successful Gastown address of Tacofino. The local company has since gone on to open several other locations (see also Kitsilano, Mt. Pleasant, Bentall, Yaletown, Victoria’s Fort Street) and hire the very talented likes of executive chef Stefan Hartmann to steer menu development — and you have to wonder as to whether or not any of that would have been possible without this place immediately knocking it out of the park.

Back on that wet December day, such a skyrocketing trajectory was the furthest thing from my mind. I just remember wondering how they were going to balance a Blood Alley main entrance and a take-out stand on Cordova. Here’s an excerpt of what Scout published back then. See if you can spot the thing that never happened…

There’s a lot to like about what I saw last week. The dozen bespoke light fixtures – made and designed made by Shiloh Sukkau – didn’t render very well in my photographs (they were wearing dust covers), but they’re really quite beautiful. So are the cool custom booths. And so is the tile work throughout, the 20 seat bar, and the big, old school swinging kitchen doors (both ways). What we don’t see – because they haven’t been installed yet – is the large mural by Gabe Dubois (the fellow who did the big piece on the side of Big Lou’s), the collection of old Tofitian surf photos from the 1960s and ’70s (in large lightboxes), and the full effect of the Blood Alley patio and entrance, all of which should prove compelling. I can’t wait to see it all come together.

Oh, and they’re putting in an application for a rooftop garden/patio, because Vancouver doesn’t have enough of those. Hardly any, in truth. Which is silly.

With the entrance located in Blood Alley, what’s to become of the 15 West Cordova St. frontage? It’s for take-out only, which should be fun — like the original food truck, only permanently parked. That menu will offer 6 “greatest hits” items (tacos, burritos, et cetera), while the regular one will dish 20 to 100 seats (80 in, 20 out). Cross your fingers for Taco Bar to launch on December 21st, because nothing says solstice better than a fish taco!

Now feast on these #TBT photos…

  • IMG_8753
  • IMG_8773
  • IMG_8772
  • IMG_8756
  • IMG_8751
  • IMG_8749
  • IMG_8744
  • IMG_8742
  • IMG_8740
  • IMG_8733
  • IMG_8731
  • IMG_8724
  • IMG_8715
  • IMG_8714
  • IMG_8710
  • IMG_8764

There is 1 comment

  1. It’s a nice room, but they need to do something about the acoustics. When it’s busy, it’s almost impossible to have a conversation.

Five Years Ago Today, This Short-Lived Wine Bar Was Getting Ready for Opening Day

This #TBT is a reminder that it would be great if we could support the little guys if/when we can. The chain restaurants will be fine. 

PHOTOS // Ten Years Ago, Inside the Last Day of Training and First Night of Service at L’Abattoir

Many of the faces have changed, but the Gastown restaurant remains as reliably excellent a place for drinks and dinner as ever.

Six Years Ago Today, Inside the Delicious Night Before Gyoza Bar’s Opening

There's typically only ever one day like this in the lifespan of a restaurant. I was glad to catch this one and even sneak a few bites...

Five Years Ago This Week, Inside the Second Act of a Legendary Vancouver Restaurant

For this week's #TBT we go back exactly five years to when I toured what would eventually become Bodega on Main Street.