Provence and Nuba Gastown kitchen veteran Chris Lam has picked up the recently closed Bistro Wagon Rouge space at 1869 Powell St. with the goal of turning it into a new restaurant called Straight & Marrow.
From what I understood of my conversation with the first-time restaurateur – which were joined by bar manager Chad Rivard (who is still on the wood at nearby Odd Society Spirits) – the overall plan for the 960 sqft. Straight & Marrow is to create a fun, cocktail-forward, broadly Euro-flavoured bistro that pays attention to detail without taking itself too seriously or aligning too closely to one type of cuisine or another. The address is next door to The Pie Shoppe, Aleph Eatery, and Trans Am, which is to say they’re in good company.
They only just took possession of the space last week so the photos above and below show the deconstruction of the old rather than the build of the new. I’m told that pretty much everything from Bistro Wagon Rouge is on its way out, save for the beautiful 12-seat bar. The kitchen pass is being extended out a couple of feet into the dining room, so no longer will guests have to awkwardly lope through the kitchen to get to the bathroom. Genevieve Legg of Formed 4 Design is doing the interior, but at this stage I have no idea what it’s going to look like come opening day. Joining Lam in the kitchen will be chef Essex Balce, a long-time Provence compatriot, while the floor will be run by Lift manager Marc Dumouchel. Straight & Marrow will be dinner only to start, with brunch services likely to follow shortly after launch. Take a closer look at the current state of play below…
Why it matters: Last month this block of Powell Street lost a beloved restaurant in Bistro Wagon Rouge. The address could have been taken over by a chain or demolished to make way for condos few in the neighbourhood could afford, but an independent operator of similar spirit will soon be taking its place.