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!
Opened in 2003 to accolades that included enRoute’s ‘Best New Restaurants in Canada’ award, South Granville’s once celebrated Cru Restaurant was a key inspiration for the Restaurant Graveyard. The refined but approachable hideaway from frontman/sommelier Mark Taylor and Christine Funnell was something worth remembering and revering when it closed in 2012, and yet it quickly faded from the field of memory of a dining public that fetishizes newness over established excellence. What a shame!
If it was still around today, Cru would doubtlessly be counted among Vancouver’s most reliable restaurants, regularly mentioned and recommended in the same hagiographic short breaths as Bishop’s and Le Crocodile. Though informal in attitude, its version of fine dining was consistent and capable in every respect. This was especially true in the kitchen, which for most of its nine-year run was led by glass ceiling-smashing women like chefs Dana Reinhardt and Alana Peckham.
Worth recalling are the restaurant’s “Cellar Door” Caesar salads, the Syrah-braised short ribs, the duck confit, the carpaccio di filetto, the unique aqua blue-lit entrance threshold, the crisp white tablecloths, and the long bar where hospitality types would nightly sip post-shift on opened bottles of always interesting wines.
Taken together these many facets helped to advance Vancouver’s reputation as a food city and set a certain bar for a new generation of restaurateurs to meet. To forget that would be to lose some understanding of our restaurant scene’s evolution; of how we arrived at our diversely delicious present; and why we can anticipate a filling future. Places like the candle-lit Cru matter long after they’re gone, making them worth remembering with no small amount of gratitude.