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DINER: Duprey & Zottenberg To Open “The Emerald” Restaurant On Gore In Chinatown

Rachel Zottenberg and David Duprey of The Narrow, Rumpus Room, Ricksaw, and upcoming Fox Cabaret have picked up the ancient second floor Fu Wah dim sum restaurant space at 555 Gore Avenue (on the eastern periphery of Chinatown between Keefer and East Pender). With it, they plan on opening a Rat Pack era, old school Vegas-themed joint called The Emerald.

It’s a massive, unused space, one that had been dormant for at least a decade before the duo picked it up earlier this year. “It was pretty gross in there,” says Zottenberg. “It’s one of those places that people would never know was there.” I can vouch from that. I live and work very close by and never knew that it existed. The address isn’t even visible, and the doors are so thoroughly boarded up that they appear to be walls.

Though the interior has already been gutted and the kitchen (which is bigger than all of Rumpus Room) cleaned up, Zottenberg, Duprey, and the construction crew still have a lot of work to do. When it does open, we can expect a 25 seat lounge, a 65 seat dining room, and a couple of versatile private rooms. They have 4800 sqft to play with, not to mention 180 grandfathered seats. Not all of them, however, will be in play: “We’re going to have fewer seats than we’re actually allowed,” Zottenberg says. The real figure is closer to 100. Why? “Because what’s lacking in Vancouver right now is elbow room. We hear it a lot, and we want people to feel really comfortable here. We want them to hang out.”

The bar program is going to offer upwards of 35 drinks — a mix of classics, plays on classics and originals, while the food will follow the Vegas vibe with Chris Williams, lately of Boneta, Save On Meats, and Rumpus, doing the cooking. He’ll be working the neighbourhood for sourcing, which could mean things like a “catch of the day” from Hung Win Seafoods and duck from Money Foods, both of which are right downstairs from The Emerald. Beyond that, think updated takes on the classic shrimp cocktail, Turducken (for real), Steak Diane, et cetera. Dean Martin loved his spaghetti and meatballs and Sinatra was a sucker for Veal Milanese, so maybe we’ll see those, too. And despite the meat-centric traditions of Las Vegas, Zottenberg assures me that vegetarians and vegans will be looked after as well.

The projected opening date for The Emerald is early Summer.

There are 11 comments

  1. I do find it funny how much whiter Chinatown is becoming year by year. At this rate there will be next to no Chinese businesses left there in a decade.

  2. The Chinese have been making the best Canadian breakfasts for years, I now look forward to eating killer dimsum made by a guilo in the centre of Chinatown. Screw gentrification, ironicifaction is what the CCAP should be on the lookout for. I for one welcome our new food preparing overlords. Please feed me.

  3. “It’s a massive, unused space, one that had been dormant for at least a decade...”

    Nobody is being pushed out of anywhere!

  4. Ask any Chinatown local who’s been there for a generation or two: they’re pro-development, pro-viaduct removal and pro-new business — in any skin colour available.

  5. Would be nice if the branding was a bit more evocative of Chinatown not just “anyplace”.. .I mean really, Chinatown had a rich history of orientique inspired clubs pandering to gwai-los.

    Seems that from typeface right down to the “East Van Supper Club” motto they are trying to divorce themselves from any connection to Chinatown. Sad that Chinatown is finally seeing some revitalization, only to lose it’s soul in the process.

  6. You can’t push people out when they have already vacated for Richmond… and that happened LONG before anyone was interested in renting these spaces! If they source their food from the neighborhood it will only grow and support the businesses that did stayed.

  7. When I was a kid, my Dad took me to dim sum here every few months. Place was usually busy, but one day we went, it was closed, and never re-opened again. Never realized it’s been 15-20 years since!

  8. @ Meh
    The name is a nod to the old Chinatown. The former establishment was called “New Diamond”. Emerald seems fairly apropos.

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