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!
For much of West Restaurant’s nearly 20-year run, it stood astride Vancouver’s hospitality scene like a colossus, winning innumerable accolades for excellence and attracting many of the city’s top culinary and front of house talents to its iconic South Granville door. (David Hawksworth, Mark Perrier, Quang Dang, Thierry Busset, Rhonda Viani, Brian Hopkins, Giovanni Giardino, David Wolowidnyk and Owen Knowlton – to name just a handful of rockstar mentionables – all clocked in here at one time or another.) Together with restaurants like the still thriving Bishop’s and long gone Lumiere, West (originally ‘Ouest’) was hugely instrumental in establishing Vancouver’s culinary identity on the high end, wowing local and visiting diners with its expressive hybrid of classically French and new-fangled techniques applied to seasonal ingredients sourced right from our own waters, farms and forests. Though the Werner Forster-designed room’s influence would wane in the wake of the 2008/2009 Financial Crisis (and the general dumbing down of the city’s gastronomic aspirations that followed), it remained a reliable bastion of fine dining through its second decade. Rather than eat a new and likely ridiculous lease, parent company Toptable Group made the decision to close West with much ado at the end of 2019.
I will throw in a few more there during my time: Marc-Andre Choquette, Jay Jones, Stephanie Noel, Dino Reinarts, Lee Humphries, Chris Irving, Dale Mackay, Nathan Guggenheimer. How come I’m mostly thinking of kitchen folk…? I guess most of the rockstar servers from back in the day have moved along into different professions. Amy, Corey, Michele, Kevin, etc..