Remembering the Downtown Eastside’s Short-Lived Asian-American BBQ Restaurant

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!

Robert Belcham, Ted Anderson and Tom Doughty – all veterans of the award-winning (but now shuttered) Campagnolo restaurants – launched The Fat Dragon in 2011. Located on a comparatively rough and out-of-the-way block of the Downtown Eastside (566 Powell Street), the brick-walled Asian-meets-American BBQ restaurant served up fat-slicked noodles, chicken-fried oysters, meaty bao buns, crab fried rice, Jalan Alor-inspired chicken wings, Korean BBQ pork, soft serve ice cream and many other delicious things, including bartender Matt Martin’s unforgettable Junmai Sour cocktail. (Think fruit tea-steeped sake and gin frothed with egg white and given licks of lemon, sugar, orange blossom and mint on ice.) Designed by Marc Bricault (see also Vij’s, Thierry, Thomas Haas), the long, stripped down room was low on ornament but high on atmosphere. Of memorable note was its silk-draped entranceway, neon signage (which would later appear at Campagnolo Upstairs) and ceiling hung with a curvaceous dragon motif that snaked past the bar, scales and all. Despite its unique concept, always interesting food and positive reviews, The Fat Dragon was tragically short-lived, lasting a mere nine months. The address is currently home to Dosanko, a beloved Japanese homestyle restaurant.

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