Satoshi Yonemori, long-time Bar Manager and Co-Owner of Farmer’s Apprentice and Grapes & Soda, will divest his ownership stake in the pair of restaurants to business partner, Mioi Sawada. Yonemori’s last shift at Grapes & Soda will be this Saturday, August 5th.
Yonemori joined Farmer’s Apprentice as Bar Manager in 2014. By 2015, he was part of the opening team of Grapes & Soda – at the time, the city’s only wine bar devoted exclusively to natural wines. Sawada joined the team in 2017, taking over the wine program at both Farmer’s and Grapes & Soda, as Yonemori shifted his focus to the cocktail program. In 2019, Sawada and Yonemori purchased both restaurants from their previous owner, David Gunawan. With Yonemori’s departure, Sawada will become the sole proprietor of Farmer’s Apprentice and Grapes & Soda.
No need to panic! So far, it does not sound like there are any grand overhaul plans in the works for either restaurant. Kaname Yasui will stay on as Bar Manager at Grapes & Soda, the talented Alden Ong will remain Executive Chef at Farmer’s and Grapes & Soda, and both addresses will continue to offer the high quality ingredient-driven food, paired with carefully selected natural wines and thoughtful cocktails, that have earned them a loyal following thus far. In Sawada’s words: “I am incredibly grateful to Satoshi for what he has helped us establish and the impact he has had on our success. While we will miss his influence, our team will continue to build on the reputation we’ve established and deliver a food and wine program we are proud of.”
We have some excellent bartenders in Vancouver, but even in the top ranks of the (non-official) local “Excellent Bartenders Club”, there is acknowledgement that Satoshi Yonemori is someone special. He helped to make the Kitsilano neighbourhood bar, Grapes & Soda, an industry favourite, and his presence there will be missed. Thank you, Satoshi!
Although he is stepping away from Grapes & Soda, Satoshi is not leaving the industry… stay tuned!