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!
Dale Mackay opened his first ever restaurant, Ensemble, in the middle of May, 2011. Unfortunately, the talented chef chose 850 Thurlow St. as the location. Though just a block away from the crowds of Robson St. on one side and Burrard St. on another, this address was infamous in the local trade for eating up and spitting out restaurants. Despite positive pre-opening press, a good review from the Globe & Mail, great staff (eg. Bradley Hendrickson, Christopher Cho), the comfy red leather chairs from Daniel Boulud’s DB Bistro and Mackay’s own sterling pedigree (having helmed the kitchen at Lumiere after years working for Gordon Ramsay in Tokyo, New York, and London), Ensemble was not successful, and even endured a freak flood thanks to a broken water tank. Mackay shut it down in August, 2012, soon thereafter moving home to Saskatoon to open the multiple award-winning Ayden Kitchen and Bar. Previous to Ensemble, the space ate up Piccolo Mondo, Saveur and the Corner Suite Bistro De Luxe. After Ensemble, it swallowed the Purple Olive Grill and The Harrow before the landlords retooled it for office/retail.