There’s a new restaurant under construction at 1867 Powell Street. We recently dropped in to meet the team, take a look at the space and learn about their plans.
On my visit to tour the space, the room was still very much under construction, but even with the windows papered up, light streaming down from the skylights above provided more than enough light to see the shape of things to come.
The 715 sqft room is not the smallest on the block (Elephant wins that prize with only 524 sqft), but it is not huge. When it is finished, Wild Thing will have 25 seats (10 at the bar and 15 on the floor). The menu will focus on low intervention wine and plant-based snacks. There will also be good coffee, cold beer (cans), and a small cocktail list.
The room is open and airy with subtle curves, touches of brick, exposed beams and a high ceiling. Bench seating (covered in hand-sewn dark green leather) will flank the south and west walls, and the compact kitchen will sit at the north end of the bar area, partially open to the room. The goal is to transport the diner to somewhere vaguely ‘European’ – simple, rustic, with small imperfections and a patina worn in from time and use, similar to the small restaurants and cafes you’d find in France or Italy.
As the team explains: “Wild Thing is inspired by all the things we felt like we were missing in our inability to travel and socialize the past few years. It’s meant to be that special little spot you discover when you’re out and about one afternoon, that then becomes your favourite place to grab a drink and a snack. Big emphasis on inclusivity, accessibility and comfort.”
The Wild Thing team includes six co-owners/partners, five who are first-time owners. This is a crew of industry veterans who, in one capacity or another, have paid their dues by working long hours for other people, and are ready to take a crack at ownership themselves.
Ezra Kish (Decade, The Cobalt, The Boxcar, The Ellis Building and formerly of The American) and Erin Rideout (who has spent many years working in / managing bars and restaurants in Vancouver) will be managing the Front of House and the wine and beverage program. Todd Graham, of HandTaste Ferments, and Kody Abrams (Greenhorn Cafe) will be in the kitchen. Rayne Williams (previously lead barista and back-up coffee roaster at East Van Coffee Roasters) will be on the floor, and running the coffee program. Finally, Tam Fuller (all around excellent human and local maker) will be sanding, drywalling, painting and hand-sewing those previously mentioned (luxurious sounding) leather benches. Given the cost of rent in Vancouver these days, opening a restaurant may not have been a feasible path as individuals, but as a team, things are looking good.
If all inspections go well (and we hope they do), the team is aiming to make April a month of rolling ‘soft openings’ with an official opening day in May. Keep your eyes peeled on their IG feed for details. For now, have a look at the gallery below to see inside: