OPENING SOON // Inside the Imminent Vancouver House Location of Autostrada

The highly anticipated opening of the new Autostrada restaurant location at Vancouver House is nearly at hand. We took a look inside earlier this week…

Located at 1481 Continental Street just down and around the corner from Chef David Chang’s (hopefully still) upcoming Momofuku outpost, the third iteration of the Italian-themed Autostrada (see also Main St. and West Pender St.) is gearing up for friends and family services this weekend with an official launch to follow on or around January 28th.

Even though it was very much unfinished on my walkthrough, the 1,700 sqft corner space – made beautiful by Ste. Marie Art & Design – wasn’t hard to imagine totally full on a post-Covid Saturday night in late summer, its 16-seat bar crowded with diners and sippers drawn from the freshly occupied buildings that make up the Vancouver House complex that soars and twists above.

Co-owner Dustin Dockendorf pointed out to me the 10 seat “harvest table” directly in front of the broad open kitchen (where his partner Lucais Syme and chef Stefan Hartmann were busy training up their staff), and steered me round the high ceilinged dining room to a large booth in a quiet corner. “This is what we’re calling the Founder’s Table,” he said, pointing out the many framed photographs of those who have supported Dustin and Lucais through the development and growth of the company (note that the duo also recently opened Capo and The Spritz). It’s a nice touch, as is the stunning fixture by AndLight that looms above it and the adjacent painting by Lucais’ brother, Jonathan, but I think the bar will narrow most eyes. For some reason U-shaped bars went out of fashion in Vancouver for a couple of decades, and I’m glad to see them making a comeback. Perhaps I’m just old fashioned; I just think they’re just cool, plus there’s something to be said about having one’s sight lines uninterrupted by a back bar.

From what I understand the menu will draw about 75% of its dishes from the Autostrada locations (I assume the worthwhile likes of tagliatelle bolognese, vitello tonnato, etc.), giving the Michelin-experienced Stefan plenty of room to get creative. I trust Dustin has put together a solid wine list, and that classic Italian cocktails will abound.

As we wait, take a closer look…

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