To date, Bailey Hayward and Mathew Bishop have contributed to the successes of some of Vancouver’s most beloved restaurants (The Mackenzie Room, Say Mercy!, Collective Goods). Now, they are finally ready to invest themselves in realizing their very own concept.
Earlier this year, in May 2023, the duo took over the spot at 1485 West 12th Avenue (on the corner of Granville & 12th) to open ‘Gary’s‘. Who is Gary? The name was inspired by dinner parties with their Covid-era ‘safe six’ – get-togethers which they playfully referred to as ‘Gary’s Social Club’. The plan is to have that very same fun, simple, and relaxed spirit of those evenings live on at their new restaurant concept, so the name stuck. Gary’s: A nice place for nice people.
Hayward and Bishop have been hands-on with transforming their new space, which was previously home to restaurants including Star Anise, Siena, and most recently, Fiore. Though the room’s occupancy load maxes at fifty, they intend to start with just thirty-six seats (twenty-four seats in the dining room, plus eight bar stools, and four at a high-top) in order to keep things intimate. Now that the room is nearly finished, it is sparse, without feeling bare. The colour scheme – cream and black – is effortlessly elegant. As Hayward puts it, they want Gary’s to “feel personal, deliberate & unfussy; the kind of place you want to make your local, suitable-for-every-moment kind of spot.”
Though I have not yet seen the menus, I’m told we can expect ‘relaxed fine dining’ influenced by the seasons. “Nothing revolutionary, just good and comforting food made with good ingredients,” says Hayward. Plates will be small, shareable and inspired by the simplicity of modern British cuisine and classic French technique. There will also be the option of handing your dinner decisions over to the kitchen and enjoying a shared, multi-course menu for the table. To drink, there will be a tight offering of cocktails, beer, and wines. Hayward continues: “We keep the wine list short, sharp and dynamic with an ever-evolving selection of wines from producers across the globe that we admire for their respectful, low intervention winemaking.”
Gary’s plans to open doors at the end of September. Stay tuned here, as well as @garysontwelfth, for updates.