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!
The 80-seat Juniper launched with high hopes after lengthy construction delays in late 2015. Beyond its modern, sleek design by Simcic + Uhrich Architects (with artwork by Ricky Alvarez and Ola Volo) and central Chinatown address (located in the new Keefer Block building facing Juke Fried Chicken and across the alleyway from Bao Bei), it boasted a great pre-opening team. From my contemporary notes, I can see that the crew included the mentionable likes of chef Lee Parsons (who left the project before construction finished), manager/somm Sarah McCauley (who lasted just a couple of months), superstar server/somm Shiva Reddy (who was also gone in a flash), and barman Shaun Layton (who was only there on a short-term contract to develop the bar program and train staff). Two of the restaurant’s four co-owners, Miranda Hudson and Reggie Tanzola, also left the project before opening day, which is to say it didn’t appear to be an easy birth for Juniper. Of course, none of this instability was public-facing intel, but it can’t have done much for the restaurant’s reputation within the trade (and if you don’t think that matters, good luck to you). A lacklustre review in the Globe and Mail that hinted at the internal chaos didn’t do the restaurant any favours, either. The food concept was on trend for the times (local, farm-to-table Cascadian) but it never really caught fire with spoiled-for-choice Vancouver diners, who may have been suffering from ‘new restaurant fatigue’ after several boom years. Despite the inarguable capabilities of Juniper’s successive chefs (Sarah Stewart, Josh Gale, Warren Chow) and its always popular cocktail program (helmed for two years by the talented Max Borrowman), the restaurant quietly shuttered at the close of 2019.