Via the Sun tonight we learn that The Only – the ancient, iconic, infamous restaurant at 20 East Hastings – is being resurrected by The Portland Hotel Society, who plan on bringing back the original menu and expanding into next door…
The Only was a Hastings Street fixture from 1917 to 2009, when it closed amid allegations of drug trafficking by its last operators.
The non-profit PHS (Portland Hotel Society) leased The Only name from the original owners, Tyke and Peter Thodos, who took the name back when the last operators had their business licence revoked.
Pattison Sign Group has restored The Only’s classic neon sign, a sea horse leaping above whitecapped waves, and the PHS has leased the restaurant’s former premises at 20 West Hastings.
“Basically we want to get The Only open and do it as part of a job training thing for [Downtown Eastside] residents,” explains Mark Townsend of the PHS. “It’s more like a training thing/social enterprise.”
The Only’s old menu will be resurrected, and the restaurant expanded into an old storefront next door. The PHS also hopes to reopen a 6,000-sq.-ft second-floor space that used to house the Logger’s Social Club.
The building needs a lot of work before it can reopen. Asbestos in the walls and ceilings on the second floor must be removed, and the electrical and plumbing are in dire need of repair.
I imagine it’ll take quite a while for the job to get done (the “soon” in the headline being hopeful rather than accurate), but I’m stoked just the same.