The original Gringo spot (overlooking Blood Alley dead-centre between Carrall and Abbott) first opened doors and started serving up their signature unpretentious menu of stripmall-inspired Mexi-Cali food and booze on October 8th, 2013. A little less than four years later, in February 2017, a newly renovated Gringo 2.0 re-opened and re-dazzled Gastown taco- and burrito-lovers with the addition of a proper bar and an extra layer of neon paint.
Davidson and Davis took possession of the Davie St. space on June 1st, 2022. As you can see from the photos, the new West End location continues with the same eye-popping neon aesthetic and unapologetically loud personality of the original location – exacerbated by its nearly equally compact size (there will be less than 30 seats, available for customers on a first-come-first-serve basis). What little extra square-footage the old Beetbox space affords is in the BOH, which will serve as a sort of “test kitchen” for the team to come up with new and beyond-crazy menu items, offered in addition to familiar Gastown drinks staples – including $4.50 beers, tequila-based drinks running the gamut of “crap” to “better-than-okay” in the booze department, and other ironic nods to the 80s and 90s.
From Davidson: “Between the pandemic very nearly shuttering Gringo’s doors forever and the past almost-nine years finding myself left standing at the expansion alter more times than I care to remember, I honestly cannot put into words how much opening this second location means to me…With an incomprehensible amount of help from my father Richard, we were able to completely transform the space in seven short chaotic weeks to have the exact same energy and vibe as the original Gastown location.” Additional support for the venture has come from Arni Johannson of Canadian Nexus Team Ventures.
Although on the surface the space is cheery and fun, that certainly hasn’t been the case in the weeks leading up to opening day…On top of the insufferable heat wave – difficult enough to merely function in – there have been health inspection delays, family health issues (Davidson’s parents both tested positive for Covid) and the resultant staff health concerns, all in short succession. Considering how integral Davidson’s father was in putting the new restaurant together, he was adamant about making sure that Dad was well enough to be able to be back onsite to pose for a photo op (above) and receive due recognition for the part he played in the process.
On opening the new location in the heart of the Davie Village – during Pride, no less – Davidson, says, “Gringo has always prided itself on being the everybody bar where everyone is welcome, so the West End and Davie community felt like a natural next step for Gringo to spread its wings! What better way to throw your arms open and introduce yourself to the West End and Davie Village than Pride?! Looks like we’ll be taking off like a rocket ship!”
Davis and Davidson eventually plan to expand into other neighbourhoods in the Lower Mainland and to the outreaches of BC, including Vancouver Island and the Interior.
Gringo Davie Street is now ready to enter their soft opening phase as of today (Friday July 29th). They will be operating regular hours, 11:30am to Midnight.