A Sneak Peek Inside Cioppino’s Expansion

After 19 years operating largely as a series of private function rooms, Yaletown’s Enoteca is currently being absorbed by its adjacent older brother, Cioppino’s.

Owner/chef Pino Posteraro showed me around the renovations earlier this week. The 4,400 sqft space formerly known as Enoteca had been boarded up since the close of Valentine’s Day. Even the old patio out front – one of Vancouver’s best for people-watching on late summer evenings – is closed off. The private rooms were already dismantled (save for the ‘Mamma Paola Wine Room’). They are – I’m told – to be moved and completely refitted with modern wine storage/refrigeration. Pino also explains that what used to be the ‘Antinori Wine Room’ is on its way to becoming a 14 seat chef’s table opposite a new, state-of-the-art open kitchen that will come complete with a rotisserie. (The original kitchen is still visible in the image gallery at the bottom of this story.)

The wall separating the two spaces is mostly disappearing with the familiar Cioppino’s dining room now extending deep into the old Enoteca. The changes will accelerate (ie. holes will be punches through walls and new arches created) when Cioppino’s closes in mid-March. When the results are revealed to the dining public in April, the two spaces will finally be perceived as one and the same.

By my read of the plan below (with the blue ink depicting all the new refrigeration units), I count 30+ new seats, not counting the 7 seats of the new bar section, which will be adding a fish hook corner to the original Cioppino’s bar, not to mention refrigeration space for 50+ wines that will be available by the glass. It’s this part of the renovation – the curving bar extension – that I’m most excited about. From these perches once should be able to see much of the action in both spaces.

Why it matters: Opened in 2000, the multiple award-winning Cioppino’s is one of the oldest and most successful restaurants in Yaletown. While 100s of businesses in the neighbourhood – many of them restaurants – have come and gone in its lifetime, it has only ever gotten better with age.

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