The owners of North Vancouver’s popular Lift Breakfast Bakery are opening a new restaurant inside the old Blue Martini jazz bar space next to Kits Beach in early 2021.
Chef Jane Young and partner Fraser Young secured the 3,000 sqft space this past summer after the quiet closure of the dark, New Orleans-inspired haunt. Their plan is to turn the space into an all-day, 135-seat brunch spot conceptually similar to the original Lift on the North Shore, but with a slightly more refined dinner service that is reflective of Jane’s love and appreciation of the Mediterranean and its varied cuisines.
Before her 3 year-run as the Pastry Chef at Chambar, Jane staged at El Bulli in Spain under chef Ferran Adrià for the famed restaurant’s final 18 months. She has a stellar reputation and a dedicated following on Lonsdale, so I’m excited to learn more about the dinner menu and its accompanying wine program (a mix of Old World and New, I’m told) as the project develops. They’re calling it LB2, an abbreviated nod to it being the couple’s second operation (not its 2am liquor license!). UPDATE: LB2 was a placeholder name during construction. It will be called Juanita.
I toured the low-ceilinged construction site during a break in the rain earlier this week. The front bulkhead by the door has been removed, revealing the whole of the razed interior to entrants all at once. It looks and feels like a very different space. The demolition spared the long bar and open kitchen; both will be dressed anew (goodbye blue and red tile), resulting in an open line and 13 seats gazing upon it.
Given the night-focused recent history of the address – which some might also remember as the dimly lit Hapa Beach (a fixture for eight years before the Blue Martini took over for the next four years) or, prior to that, the legendary Urban Well comedy club – it’s not all that easy to imagine it brightened up as a fount of brunchy comforts. But change is good. And so are the 24 seat patio seats flanking the entrance. I suspect there’s much deliciousness to look forward to here, so expect further reporting as LB2 nears launch in January. In the meantime, take a look inside…