Five Years Ago Today, This Recently Shuttered Restaurant Got Off to an Excellent Start

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 beautifully designed farm-to-table restaurant Royal Dinette launched in Vancouver’s financial district in the summer of 2015. From the start it had a lot going for it (despite the incongruent ownership duo of chef David Gunawan – now of Ubuntu – and Jeff Donnelly of the much-maligned Donnelly Group). The opening crew was a dream team that included the likes of head chef Jack Chen (ex-L’Abattoir), bar manager Wendy McGuinness (ex-Chambar), and front of house managers Chen-Wei Lee (ex-Bao Bei) and Jonathan Therrien (ex-Cafe Medina). Other talents like chefs Alden Ong and Eva Chin would also make their marks in the open kitchen, and one of the world’s top bartenders, Kaitlyn Stewart, would see her career take off behind the wood. Sadly, despite consistently good reviews and a shelf full of awards (including Best New Restaurant in 2016), the restaurant announced its permanent closure on March 17th, 2020, just three days before Mayor Kennedy Stewart announced the immediate suspension of table service due to Covid-19. The photos below are from exactly five years ago today, when they were setting up for their very first night of service.

  • IMG_8141
  • IMG_8016
  • IMG_8077
  • IMG_8068
  • IMG_8103
  • IMG_8050
  • IMG_8012
  • IMG_8035
  • IMG_8101
  • IMG_8073
  • IMG_8039
  • IMG_8131
  • IMG_8032
  • IMG_8086
  • IMG_8072
  • IMG_8057
  • IMG_8055
  • IMG_8037
  • IMG_8029
  • IMG_8144
  • IMG_8026
  • IMG_8015
  • IMG_8107
  • IMG_8014
  • IMG_8011

There are 2 comments

  1. Maybe, in these times, post about Vancouver restaurants that are fighting to survive and could use some of your help and exposure.

    Maybe even some of those not on your favourite list.

  2. Thanks for the comment, Chef. I feel like we have published plenty about the current crisis and how it is effecting restaurants. If there is something specific that you’d like us to write about, by all means let me know. Also, I think many readers are appreciative of historical and non-Covid crisis content. It might not be your thing, so I hope you can find another aspect of the site to enjoy. Thanks for reading.

Remembering the Beloved Tex-Mex Restaurant That Joked About Cheating ‘Tourists & Drunks’

Launched in 1988, Carlos 'n Bud's was defined by its affordable Tex-Mex menu, relaxed attitude and sun-soaked patio.

They Don’t Make Art-Deco Lunch Counters in Vancouver Like They Used To…

Located between the Commodore and the Orpheum, the 1930s/40s Hollywood Cafe offered 30 cent lunches and an on-site palmist.

Award-Winning Italian Restaurant Permanently Closes After 12 Years on Main Street

We can't blame greedy landlords or property developers for this one. Campagnolo was closed by Covid-19, plain and simple.

Remembering the Promising Chinatown Restaurant and Bar That Never Really Caught On

The 80-seat Juniper lasted five years at 185 Keefer Street having never fulfilled its pre-opening promise.