For this edition of #ThrowbackThursday we go back 10 years to the earliest days of the North Carolina BBQ-inspired Peckinpah restaurant at 2 Water Street, which announced its sale yesterday. The last service is February 11th, 2021.
I was sad and happy to hear that Peckinpah owner Tyson Reimer had sold his Gastown restaurant — sad because I liked the place and happy because Tyson had wanted out for a while.
Selling a restaurant in the midst of a pandemic can’t be that easy. Tyson, a veteran of Vancouver’s restaurant scene (he also gave us Cobre and Deacon’s Corner), intimated as much just a few weeks ago during an off-hour chat inside the woody, brick-walled room. I think this might be doubly true in Gastown, where the neighbourhood’s dynamics were in crushing flux long before the Covid axe fell last Spring. Rents had shifted into demon greed mode, street conditions were worsening at a pace that is still accelerating, and big box chain restaurants had begun to sneak in and play dominant roles through half-assed proxies. So I’m glad a deal was able to get done and hopeful he and his family are able to kick back for a while and enjoy life after a decade slinging BBQ, beers and brown liquors inside the Byrnes Block, one of the neighbourhood’s oldest and most interesting addresses. 10 years is a good, long run to be proud of so join me in raising a glass and crossing your fingers it wasn’t an Earls that bought it.
For a refresher on the history of the building, take a look at this piece we published about it back in 2014. What follows below is a collection of words and photographs from when I first stepped foot in the place back in 2010, plus a second gallery detailing some images of late construction that include a few cool finds recovered from the dark recesses of the basement:
Restaurant builder Ryan Murfitt (Bao Bei, Calabash, and many more) and restaurateur Tyson Reimer (Cobre, Deacon’s Corner) have secured a lease of the ground floor at 2 Water Street. If you’re not familiar with the address it’s the beautiful Italianate-style Byrnes Block (1887) next door to Six Acres. It’s a heck of a corner location, facing out on on both Carrall and Water.
The restaurant will be called Peckinpah, so named after the old (and controversial) movie director Sam Peckinpah, who made The Wild Bunch, Cross Of Iron, The Osterman Weekend and a dozen other hard-edged films. “He was a hard balls fucking director”, Reimer says. “He was known for doing things his way”.
It’s a small space (just 900 sqft) but I’d put the ceilings at over 12 ft. and the walls (save for the old brick back) are lined with massive windows that open on to the street. They’ve only just received the keys today, but first imaginings see 35 seats all day, with a long, 16 seat open kitchen bar.
As for the food concept, it’s North Carolina BBQ. Expect dry rubs, pulled pork, brisket, St. Louis ribs, smoked oysters, prawn boils, and so on (they’re getting a smoker installed front and center, one that can turn out 550lbs of meat a day).