If you’ve ventured around Chinatown lately you’ll have noticed that it’s been undergoing a lot of changes with plenty of new developments springing up. Among the largest of these is The Keefer Block, a ten storey, 81 unit condo project occupying a large footprint on the northwest corner of Main and Keefer. Retail and food and beverage operations will dominate the main floor once it’s all finished. The largest of these will be a new 2,800 sqft, two level restaurant called Juniper.
Juniper – accessed at 185 Keefer St. (next to the alleyway shared with Bao Bei) – will focus on simply expressed small batch, maker-connected, farm-to-table Pacific Northwest ingredients, both in the kitchen and behind the bar. Widely respected veteran chef Lee Parsons (Wedgewood, Claridges) is overseeing the development of a food program that will be anchored in share/grazing plates and include a house pickling program and weekly charcuterie and fish boards.
The bar program will see a rotating fresh sheet of handmade classic and original cocktails inspired by the region, its seasons, and its growing assortment of artisanal craft spirits. Many of these will be blended with house-made syrups and infusions, including those earmarked for Juniper’s barrel-aged cocktail program. The beer and wine lists will be short, sweet, and squarely focused on the local and hyperlocal. Drinks, I think it’s safe to say, will figure highly. (The owners had originally toyed with the idea of doing a distillery together, but opted to create a restaurant and bar instead.)
We’re especially excited about the design possibilities. Simcic + Uhrich Architects (Brassneck, Timbertrain) have been tasked with the job, which is to say that I think we can expect a uniquely rugged-meets-modern environment with plenty of light and innovative use of space. The 100 seater is all new with tall windows and a platform mezzanine that will cut into the voluminous main space (70 seats down, 30 seats up).
Construction – managed by Harmony Pacific (Matchstick Chinatown, Mosquito) – is scheduled to begin in March. If all goes according to plan, Juniper will start serving dinner and weekend brunch (with additional happy hour and late night menus) at some point in July. Take a look…