Shortly before the world got weird with the coronavirus I got wind of Straight & Marrow, a new restaurant project that piqued my interest on account of its location and the people involved.
Covid-19 may significantly slowed construction progress at chef Chris Lam’s Straight & Marrow, but it has since resumed in earnest with an opening date set for some point in August.
For a refresher, here are some excerpts from my story back in February…
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 (now closed) Trans Am, which is to say they’re in good company. 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.
I did another walk-through of the space yesterday and it was a bit of a crowded hive of activity. As you can see from the images below, they appear to have made significant progress on the build with Genevieve Legg and Leah Bradley’s copper-painted art installation of patterned wooden boards and found industrial objects now in place above the banquette that runs the length of the room. Lam told me he’s almost locked down his menu, and aims to start testing in house shortly. It’s my hope to see that as it happens, so expect more on this project soon. In the meantime, take a look inside…