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Chef Chris Whittaker To Open Casual “Timber” Eatery Next To Forage On Robson St.

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Dedicated locavore chef Chris Whittaker is opening a new restaurant in the space formerly occupied by the Listel Hotel’s Modern Art Gallery (that’s the southwest corner of Robson and Jervis in the West End).

They’re calling it Timber — which is fitting as the concept is casual Canadian. The menu will focus on the familiar favourites we typically pair with hockey games, only they’ll be made with high quality local ingredients. Think deep fried cheese curds; shroom poutine; spicy maple glazed chicken wings; game burgers with house cured bacon and ketchup chips; confit lamb donairs; elk touriere; beaver tails; butter tarts; and so on — plus plenty of beer and spirits.

It sounds great. Vancouverites dig local food, but when trumpeted by its celebrants it can sometimes come across as a little precious, which is to say ill-suited to the casual, approachable, familiar realm. Timber, at least conceptually, wants to turn that stigma on its head. Forage goes some of that distance already. This place, I expect, will close the gap. Bonus: the 90 seater is umbilically connected to Forage next door, so Whittaker won’t have far to go to keep eyes on both kitchens.

I toured the 1,900 sqft space yesterday and was reminded of its fantastic bones. It used to be O’Douls way back in the day, but I don’t remember it being anywhere near as cathedral-like as it was yesterday without its clothes on. I mean, just look at it! And wow, dig that courtyard! What the pictures don’t show are the still-to-come 8 seat bar; the 18 seat communal table; the reclaimed wood from an old barn at Glorious Organics; and all the textural elements and details by polymath/blacksmith Dustin Pritchard (see also Wolf In The Fog). I can’t wait to see it when it’s finished.

Whittaker et al get the keys from the contractors just after the puck first drops in October, so expect lunch and dinner service to launch soon thereafter, perhaps around Halloween.

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