Remembering the Commercial Drive Restaurant Where All the Cooks Liked to Hang Out

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!

Merchant’s Workshop (aka Merchant’s Oyster Bar) was a chef-driven industry favourite fixture on The Drive that was celebrated for its many collaborations, sun-soaked patio, off-menu items (the burgers!), memorable special events and primary focus on making things extra delicious. While it did attract many off-duty cooks, bartenders and servers, to the neighbourhood at large is was like a second living room, a place to slip in, chat up the staff and other patrons at the long bar while downing a few oysters with a glass of something well chosen. It closed in 2018 after chefs-owners Doug Stephen and Lindsey Mann launched a second project, the wildly successful Downlow Chicken Shack, which served up the Nashville hot chicken they’d perfected at Merchant’s. Thankfully, the space was sold to a likeminded group of restaurant industry veterans, who gave us Ugly Dumpling.

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  1. Doug is really the king of hospitality. I don’t think anyone could argue this.

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