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Vancouvers oldest restaurants (merged)


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The diner thread mentions the Ovaltine as Vancouvers oldest restaurant, is that true, it's the oldest operating restaurant in the GVRD? When did it open? How has it changed over the years? Any historians care to illuminate?

That'd be an interesting article for an enterprising writer, a brief history of Vancouver restaurants. I'd think the original White Spot in Marpole would have been close to the oldest, prior to it's demise.

(edited, becuase I'm typing outside in the dark and my touch typing skills are weak, okay nonexistant.)

Edited by Keith Talent (log)
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I don't know if a "history" of Vancouver restaurants would sell, but I'm positive a stylish soft-cover coffee table book on the best of Vancouver would.

A decorative Eating and Drinking Guide.

Edited by editor@waiterblog (log)

Andrew Morrison

Food Columnist | The Westender

Editor & Publisher | Scout Magazine

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The diner thread mentions the Ovaltine as Vancouvers oldest restaurant, is that true, it's the oldest operating restaurant in the GVRD? When did it open? How has it changed over the years? Any historians care to illuminate?

That'd be an interesting article for an enterprising writer, a brief history of Vancouver restaurants. I'd think the original White Spot in Marpole would have been close to the oldest, prior to it's demise.

Keith,

As far as I know:

The Only began business in 1912 (two years after the new provincial liquor act was enacted) and closed 82 years later in 1994.

The Ovaltine Cafe opened in 1942, succeeding the Blue Eagle and Eatmoor cafes which occupied the space after Burlington Tailors closed up shop in 1940. So it’s been going for about 63 years.

Nat Bailey opened the Granville Street White Spot 77 years ago next month, in June, 1928. However it’s been gone for quite a while.

Primo’s opened at 12th and Granville in 1960—45 years old and named for whom?

The William Tell just celebrated its 40th anniversary (including the Richards Street location)—1965 and one of the first of the independents to emerge after WAC Bennett rolled back the hotels’ control of liquor sales. The others were Big Frank's Steak House, Leo's Steakhouse, Hy's at the Sands, The Hamilton Street Grill (although it was closed for lunch from 1972 to 1991 while the chef went to school) Monty's Steak and Seafood (see a pattern here?), The Three Greenhorns, Ondines et al.

Jean-Claude Ramond opened la crêperie in 1970 and still operates The Smoking Dog in Kitsilano. Chez Joel opened in Gastown in 1972. Very sadly, Joel died this week and J-C is ill.

Here's part of an historical article that we published in December 1999 entitled “We Are What We Ate”. There was another historical piece published in October, 1995 entitled “Behind the Green Door”, however that is not archived on our website.

Funny you should bring this up: We're melding this reasearch and historical photography into a portion of a book that covers other dining and food landscapes as well. That would be the royal we--Camilla is helping.

It may intrigue you to read how very well local citizens ate more than a century ago (really quite sophisticated)--fresh, local, seasonal--not unlike that mantra I (amongst others) flog to death now. But in 1910 the provincial government would essentially close the door on independent restaurants which would not begin to revive for half a century. Quite unbelievable in retrospect. I hope you enjoy the read.

I could arrange for photocopies if you’re interested in either. Answer the Primo’s question correctly (and tell me his former profession) and the story’s free. Otherwise payment may be arranged in a modest quantity of Dutch lager, instalment plan available.

Best,

Jamie

Edited by jamiemaw (log)

from the thinly veneered desk of:

Jamie Maw

Food Editor

Vancouver magazine

www.vancouvermagazine.com

Foodblog: In the Belly of the Feast - Eating BC

"Profumo profondo della mia carne"

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Primo's is named for Primo Villanueva the original founding family member.

Beat'ya to it via PM. No bonus points for his occupation? :wink:

Joie Alvaro Kent

"I like rice. Rice is great if you're hungry and want 2,000 of something." ~ Mitch Hedberg

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I've got a lovely black and white post card of Purdy's Tea Room in Vancouver in my files somewhere.

I'll try to dig it out. It looks absolutely gorgeous.

I wonder where it was exactly?

Zuke

"I used to be Snow White, but I drifted."

--Mae West

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I don't know if a "history" of Vancouver restaurants would sell, but I'm positive a stylish soft-cover coffee table book on the best of Vancouver would.

A decorative Eating and Drinking Guide.

Totally!!!

If you included the closed restaurants - I have plates from the Aristocractic that was located on Granville and Broadway. The plates have the decorative logo of 'Risty' on them. Wonderfully photogenic.

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I don't know if a "history" of Vancouver restaurants would sell, but I'm positive a stylish soft-cover coffee table book on the best of Vancouver would.

A decorative Eating and Drinking Guide.

Totally!!!

If you included the closed restaurants - I have plates from the Aristocractic that was located on Granville and Broadway. The plates have the decorative logo of 'Risty' on them. Wonderfully photogenic.

Shelora,

Any restaurants of longevity that are noteworthy in Victoria? Besides The Union Club I mean. Is the Shawnigan Lake Inn still going?

Edited by jamiemaw (log)

from the thinly veneered desk of:

Jamie Maw

Food Editor

Vancouver magazine

www.vancouvermagazine.com

Foodblog: In the Belly of the Feast - Eating BC

"Profumo profondo della mia carne"

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Any restaurants of longevity that are noteworthy in Victoria? Besides The Union Club I mean. Is the Shawnigan Lake Inn still going?

Noteworthy as in.....? I mean, we still have the Dutch Bakery, coffee shop. Menu and prices haven't changed since the 1960's, - waitresses, too!

Then there is Smitty's, cops hang out there, probably for the sole reason that nobody else does!

Not sure about the Shawnigan Lake Inn.

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So we're saying The Ovaltine is inded the reigning Vancouver champ, followed by Primo's?

Actually, Keith I see that I forgot to place The Normandy on our list last night, it's about 69 years old--1936 I believe. The current iteration of The Hotel Vancouver has operated since 1939; where Griffin's is located now has been an F & B operation (coffee shop, The Spanish Grill, Griffin's) since that time.

from the thinly veneered desk of:

Jamie Maw

Food Editor

Vancouver magazine

www.vancouvermagazine.com

Foodblog: In the Belly of the Feast - Eating BC

"Profumo profondo della mia carne"

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Jamie,

The Only is open now- did it close and then re-open?

Edited by annanstee (log)

The sea was angry that day my friends... like an old man trying to send back soup in a deli.

George Costanza

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Jamie,

The Only is open now- did it close and then re-open?

That's what I understand. But only a closer inspection will reveal if it has washrooms now.

from the thinly veneered desk of:

Jamie Maw

Food Editor

Vancouver magazine

www.vancouvermagazine.com

Foodblog: In the Belly of the Feast - Eating BC

"Profumo profondo della mia carne"

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  • 3 weeks later...

bumping up the thread for ease of discovery and to see if anyone else has any thoughts on historical Vancouver restaurants. Not being a native, I know very little about the evolution of our restaurant scene. And I am particularily curious about what happened in 1910...

ETA

nevermind. through the use of google, I answered my own question.

In 1910, the provincial government severely restricted the availability of alcohol.

Edited by Kayaksoup (log)

< Linda >

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  • 8 months later...

The Cannery, Primo's, Rooster Quarters, Fish House in Stanley Park, Salmon House on the Hill, Seasons in the Park, A Kettle of Fish, Il Giardino, Hy's, Chartwell, Hon's Wun Tun, Elbow Room, Pink Pearl, The Ivy, Himalaya.....

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