Inside Do Chay, Opening Soon in Yaletown

Victoria and Patrick Do, the sibling duo behind Kingsway’s popular vegetarian Vietnamese Do Chay restaurant and Yaletown’s recently refreshed House Special, will soon turn the latter into the second location of the former.

I toured the space at 1269 Hamilton St. late last week with the brother-sister team, who are in the process of getting the dining room, bar and patio Covid-prepped to reopen and receive House Guest’s last…er…guests. The plan, they say, is to operate as House Guest until the end of June and then close for a whirlwind of redecorations before reopening as the second coming of Do Chay in early July. There will be seating for 50 inside and another 18 on the boxed in patio (cut those numbers in half until the end of the pandemic). The menu will mirror that of its Kingsway twin, which is to say fun, bright, modern and meatless expressions of mostly southern Vietnamese fare, with wine and beer flowing from the marble bar’s dozen or so taps.

Some further details from the pre-opening press release…

“Our family as a whole have been moving towards a more plant-based diet in recent years, and with COVID-19 happening, we wanted to focus on growing Do Chay and feel this is the right decision for us and for the neighbourhood,” says Patrick Do, who will oversee Do Chay Yaletown with his sister, Victoria Do, and mom Yen Do. “We often see many guests coming from downtown to our Kingsway location, and look forward to introducing Do Chay to even more people.”

Do Chay opened in June of last year and has cultivated a loyal following with its flavourful, fun, and inventive plant-based dishes. About eighty per cent of the menu is vegan, with a couple vegetarian options that include eggs.

Popular dishes, such as its Coconut Rice Cakes, Vegan Avocado Pho, XO Potstickers, and Tumeric Banh Xeo Crepe are expected to follow. Patrick hopes to add new and feature items to its Yaletown menu.

“We’ve enjoyed many successful years as House Special, and thank Yaletown residents for their amazing patronage,” adds Victoria, who has managed House Special since its inception in 2016. “Our collective goal has always been to make Vietnamese food approachable. Do Chay is going to be a great addition for the area, and we can’t wait for the community to visit and try our dishes.”

Those who follow the local hospitality scene closely will recognize this address as having one of a merciless history of chewing up restaurants and spitting them out. By my count, at least 8 different eateries have given it a go in just the past 15 years. All of them failed. If I’m not mistaken, House Special has served the longest with its 4-year run, so the Do family clearly has game. This is further evidenced by how consistently busy the original Do Chay has been since its arrival in East Van a year ago. With the food concept being hugely refreshing and the cooking super consistent and delicious, I think they’ve got a real shot.

House Special was actually renovated just a few months ago and I loved the new look, so I can’t wait to see what they do with the space. As we wait, take a closer look inside…

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