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The Vancouver Dining Landscape in 2010


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Four years minus two weeks . . .

As Canadians deal with post-partum Olympic depression (no more 4 am hockey games), I'd be interested to know what you think about just how our culinary scene will embrace the world.

What food and restaurant trends, areas of restaurant development and style of dining do you foresee?

And if the international media picked up on Torino's chocolate industry as the bellwether for the city (those bicerins of coffeee, chocolate and cream looked terrific), what will they capture here? Fowkian Pastrami, Nanaimo Bars, salmon garavlax?

Let's just hope it's not Yoplait creamy yogurt, surely the most irritating of all the Olympic advertisements.

Get on it . . .

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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Let's just hope it's not Yoplait creamy yogurt, surely the most irritating of all the Olympic advertisements.

Get on it . . .

Good question Jamie. My only thoughts right now are "who thought up those stupid ads and do they still have a job"?

Derek

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I foresee Beavertail huts on Robson, poutine trucks staking out street corners, and little carts hawking Inukshuk-shaped maple sugar candy - all in the name of giving visitors that essential taste of Canadiana.

I hope they all leave with the departing torch, except for maybe one poutine wagon.

I know a man who gave up smoking, drinking, sex, and rich food. He was healthy right up to the day he killed himself. - Johnny Carson
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Slate has an interesting piece up about the opportunities wasted by Piedmont's wineries during the Turin Games.

Surely there's plan in the works for VQA to capitalise in 2010?

Neat link, Andrew - thanks. Yes, the BCWI is planning forward effectively. Let's hope that strong vintages (unlike '05) leading up to 2010 support a strong marketing and travel budget. Waste not, want not . . .

I foresee Beavertail huts on Robson, poutine trucks staking out street corners, and little carts hawking Inukshuk-shaped maple sugar candy - all in the name of giving visitors that essential taste of Canadiana.

I hope they all leave with the departing torch, except for maybe one poutine wagon.

As Jeffy Boy points out, the general media tend to go to a low denominator when it comes to food and wine - perhaps our job is to ensure they aim higher up the chain.

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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As Jeffy Boy points out, the general media tend to go to a low denominator when it comes to food and wine - perhaps our job is to ensure they aim higher up the chain.

A departure from my usual style, but I'm up for it. :biggrin:

I foresee Beavertail huts on Robson, poutine trucks staking out street corners, and little carts hawking Inukshuk-shaped maple sugar candy - all in the name of giving visitors that essential taste of Canadiana.

Welcome to Victoria's Government Street, where such silliness runs amok from April to October without a peep from the echo-Chamber of Commerce.

Edited by Andrew Morrison (log)

Andrew Morrison

Food Columnist | The Westender

Editor & Publisher | Scout Magazine

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I don't imagine that the networks are going to think beyond the word "salmon" and it will be up to the chefs and other interested parties to make the most of the TV spots available to get the true message about the city's cuisine across. A very tough job I would guess.

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I would imagine we are going to have to come to grips with security zones, staffing shortages and big American chains rolling into town and paying outrageaous prices for medium sized Yaletown eateries.

PLEASE, PLEASE tell us you won't sell out, Neil!!

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I would love to see the 2010 olympics showcase Vancouvers rich diversity in food. We're not just beavertails and I hope that isn't what people go home with. One of the things that makes Vancouver so interesting food-wise is that we have such a HUGE variation in food (not just 'that' chinese restaurant or 'the one' greek place).

Fusion will probably be a big word. Somehow we need to showcase our diversity in food without looking like a mall food court :biggrin:

"There are two things every chef needs in the kitchen: fish sauce and duck fat" - Tony Minichiello

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I would imagine we are going to have to come to grips with..... big American chains rolling into town and paying outrageous prices for medium sized Yaletown eateries.

You wish! :raz:
Everyone will profit and thats a good thing for restaurant owners.

I'm reminded of the Mayor of Atlanta Georgia who finally admitted-halfway through that notorious debacle-that everyone wasn't going to get rich/buy a new house~spouse.Quite the opposite for many in fact.
I foresee Beavertail huts on Robson, poutine trucks staking out street corners, and little carts hawking Inukshuk-shaped maple sugar candy - all in the name of giving visitors that essential taste of Canadiana.

I hope they all leave with the departing torch, except for maybe one poutine wagon.

Quite agree except for that last grease wagon-send it to Surrey. :biggrin:
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Perhaps we should start with geographic expansion.

I see the areas that are likely for expansion as follows:

1. Crosstown: The advent of newly renovated condominiums on Beatty Street north of Georgia will likely draw a few new restaurants near Chambar and Wild Rice, especially if Ohlund and Salo recover from their Olympic injuries soon. :biggrin:

2. Downtown Eastside: If and when the Woodward's redevelopment gets moving, that anchor itself will likely add quite a few new F & B oulets to service both the university campus and residents. I think it will likely also revive the western fringes of Gastown, and Gastown itself.

3. North Yaletown The Wall and Concorde Pacific multi-tower developments are nearing completion and will launch several thousand new residents on the north end of Yaletown. Lucky Neil.

4. Alberni/Thurlow Nexus The Shangri-la (look for a large Japanese restaurant in the podium) development will anchor the Saltlik/Joe's prevailing wisdom, but at much higher commercial rents.

5. Cambie Corridor The Grosvenor Tower, The Montreux, The RAV station and ultimately, the development of the Olympic Village infrastructure, will see perhaps the greatest concentration of new F & B opportunities in this neighbourhood. But $30+ psf will look pretty attractive by 2010, and a distant memory.

6. South False Creek Extending eastward, the Olympic Village will have a stronger impact post-2010 as mixed use projects extend to Main and southward to link with the the Main and Broadway area, which is already active.

7. Granville Mall The redevelopment of the Capital Six into mixed use will provide linkage between Hornby/Burrard/Alberni and Yaletown. Should be much more lateral, crosstown pedestrian flow by 2010.

Next: The impact of this development on commercial lease rates, and ultimately, how much we pay for dinner.

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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There will be a lot of development and expansion. Plenty of opportunists pitching a tent, raking some coin and heading out of town leaving some yawning chasms of vacancy.

Hoard your cash and get ready for some cheap rents in 2011 and 2012. It'll be at least two years to recover from that mini-depression.

Lease rates should plummet. Temporarily.

Lots of Olive Garden/Red Lobster/Chili's/Applebee's/Outback stuff.

:wink:

Bradley Cooper

You should be reading my blog!

WINE & VINE BC

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I think we will see alot of great success for the restaurant in the downtown core, Yaletown, Crosstown, and Gastown and of course Whislter Village. I think Richmond will fare well with its cosmopolitan restaurants and markets. I'm not convinced that the suburbs will fare any differently economically. To echo Andrew's comments...let's really promote our wine industry both VQA and independent. I think we will see more chain style establishments, street vendors, and HOPEFULLY more liberalisation of our booze industry and liqour laws. I expect to see unfortunately more MacDonalds, KFC, and Starbucks popping up like weeds in the next three years. It should be an exciting time for the food and service industry but as Neil mentioned restaurant and bar staffing could be an issue.

Stephen

"who needs a wine list when you can get pissed on dessert" Gordon Ramsey Kitchen Nightmares 2005

MY BLOG

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I think we will see alot of great success for the restaurant in the downtown core, Yaletown, Crosstown, and Gastown and of course Whislter Village. I think Richmond will fare well with its cosmopolitan restaurants and markets. I'm not convinced that the suburbs will fare any differently economically. To echo Andrew's comments...let's really promote our wine industry both VQA and independent. I think we will see more chain style establishments, street vendors, and HOPEFULLY more liberalisation of our booze industry and liqour laws. I expect to see unfortunately more MacDonalds, KFC, and Starbucks popping up like weeds in the next three years. It should be an exciting time for the food and service industry but as Neil mentioned restaurant and bar staffing could be an issue.

Stephen

I'll come back to the floor as a celebrity server or bartender but, gosh, my rate has skyrocketed!

Bradley Cooper

You should be reading my blog!

WINE & VINE BC

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I would imagine we are going to have to come to grips with security zones, staffing shortages and big American chains rolling into town and paying outrageaous prices for medium sized Yaletown eateries.

Seriously, I would question if many big US chains are going to take a run. Many have come, run their due diligence and have left, primarily for three reasons: CFD is done very well here; our market is much more crowded, competitive and interestingly diverse than comparable, like-sized American cities; and their business model is attuned to much lower labour costs. Some have tried (Hooters, Planet Hollywood etc.) and have failed miiserably.

Starbucks will continue to expand because both the financial covenant that they offer the landlord and the capital base they have to build quickly and in a cost-effective manner are secure.

Anyone considering an investment solely based on two weeks of inflated revenues is necessarily a fool, and any investment more than a weenie cart based on that fortnight is foolish.

What the Olympics are really about is the four-year (plus) draw of the media, organizers and spectators that will shine a broader light. Vancouver will continue to expand I think, but the enormous forthcoming expansion of Holt Renfrew into their new premises at Pacific Centre, and the advent of international retailers such as Tiffany's suggest that there's more afoot.

If there were one precedent, I think it's probably Sydney, where a profuse and diverse (but newly-birthed) culinary culture was 'discovered". I think that's likely here as well.

So where will the growth come from? And what will the dining style that we present to the world look like? If one current trend continues, I'd say that we'll have many more casually styled restaurants with accessible food but that are essentially liquor primary in their ambitions.

In other words, the style of Chambar and Century may well define the higher arc of new dining. And I wouldn't expect many - if any - white tablecloth, fine dining restaurants from new operators. Although Pino may launch again in the Alberni/Thurlow area.

Whistler is an enigma: very high fixed and labour costs, seasonal revenue base (or lack of it), and this year, decreasing winter revenues based on a poor Christmas start. Further, revenues have decreased over the past several years almost precisely in parallel with the gain in our dollar versus the US dollar. Because Americans will require passports to visit, and because Whistler's new driveway won't be finished until 2009, there's a lot of marketing to be done there in the next four years and I don't mean Cornucopia.

I absolutely agree with Neil and Stephen that the main drag on expansion will be a critical labour shortage.

Well, that and parking.

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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I'd say that we'll have many more casually styled restaurants with accessible food but that are essentially liquor primary in their ambitions.

I absolutely agree with Neil and Stephen that the main drag on expansion will be a critical labour shortage.

Well, that and parking.

I would agree that there will be more emphasis on casual restaurants and bars. We have to envison foreign tourists spending their capital to get here, stay here, and more than likely spend less on fine dining but more cheaper food and lots of alcohol. I'm thinking parking may not be such an issue for tourists with them opting for our new RAV system to and from the airport, hopefully more new buses/trollies, and dedicated roadways to Whistler. If as expected we get a hugh influx of U.S. tourists this maybe a different scenerio. I'm curious to see how many tourists make the leap to visit Victoria and how the ferry system will cope with that issue...now we do not have those lovely sleek and sporty looking Fast Cats :angry: (oh maybe the people bought them will offer premium services over there for some $$$) :smile: In regards to food as stated in this thread "Salmon" will appear alot in the international press. Hopefully Tourism Vancouver will put together press junkets to Granville Island Market, Chinatown, and the Fraser valley Wine Country.

Stephen

"who needs a wine list when you can get pissed on dessert" Gordon Ramsey Kitchen Nightmares 2005

MY BLOG

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In regards to food as stated in this thread "Salmon" will appear alot in the international press. Hopefully Tourism Vancouver will put together press junkets to Granville Island Market, Chinatown, and the Fraser valley Wine Country.

Stephen

I hope that all of the tourism authorities get way out ahead of only promoting vancouver and Whistler, and take a page from the cruise ship industry by promoting 'extended-stays' in the Okanagan and Vancouver Island. Although neither is at its most scenic in February, both are worth the journey. I also hope that wineries are complicit, and open their doors wide open in February, 2010.

Cross-pollinating the total of packaged products, I think, is what will bring them back.

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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I'm thinking parking may not be such an issue for tourists with them opting for our new RAV system to and from the airport, hopefully more new buses/trollies

I have found myself very involved with the Canadaline ( formerly RAV ) station in Yaletown. I will be participating in a small workshop group with RAVCO tonight in laying out some thoughts on the "look" of the above ground stationhouse in Yaletown.

It has been a very interesting look at how the system works. I am going to bring up the issue of the station name this evening.

I recall there being some thoughts on tying the name to the Roundhouse, but I would like to see it called something like

Hamilton Street Grill Station.

or The Vancouver Portal to Hanger Steak.

or simply

Gingerbreadpuddingland Station.

It will be interesting in seeing how we get the athletes from the Olympic Village to dining destinations around town. we are looking at a dedicated Aquabus across False Creek, right into Gingerbreadpuddingland ( formerly known as Yaletown ).

AS Jamie has mentioned, it is only a two week event and I do not see any serious operators setting up shop around the Village for the run of the Olympics.

Neil Wyles

Hamilton Street Grill

www.hamiltonstreetgrill.com

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I'm thinking parking may not be such an issue for tourists with them opting for our new RAV system to and from the airport, hopefully more new buses/trollies

I have found myself very involved with the Canadaline ( formerly RAV ) station in Yaletown. I will be participating in a small workshop group with RAVCO tonight in laying out some thoughts on the "look" of the above ground stationhouse in Yaletown.

It has been a very interesting look at how the system works. I am going to bring up the issue of the station name this evening.

I recall there being some thoughts on tying the name to the Roundhouse, but I would like to see it called something like

Hamilton Street Grill Station.

or The Vancouver Portal to Hanger Steak.

or simply

Gingerbreadpuddingland Station.

It will be interesting in seeing how we get the athletes from the Olympic Village to dining destinations around town. we are looking at a dedicated Aquabus across False Creek, right into Gingerbreadpuddingland ( formerly known as Yaletown ).

AS Jamie has mentioned, it is only a two week event and I do not see any serious operators setting up shop around the Village for the run of the Olympics.

Modest chap that you are, build it the size of a hangar, but with an escalator that terminates at your door.

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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There's not a tourist out there that would see the name "gingerbreadpuddingland" as a stop on the RAV line and NOT stop there to check it out.

Not one.

"There are two things every chef needs in the kitchen: fish sauce and duck fat" - Tony Minichiello

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There's not a tourist out there that would see the name "gingerbreadpuddingland" as a stop on the RAV line and NOT stop there to check it out.

Not one.

Especially if they knew those matinée-idol looks were just inside the door.

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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A very interesting subject and one that I have spent more than a couple of years studying…

I believe that Vancouver restaurateurs who plan ahead and work with VANOC will do surprisingly well. Restaurants who contract their space out to Olympic sponsors will also do very well as most of these sponsors host dinners for their clients on a nightly basis.

In Salt Lake City, one restaurateur in particular did extremely well due to his contacts with the organizing committee and sponsors. However, large and small restaurants just a block or two away from key Olympic areas and venues actually sat empty for most of the two weeks. Even hotel restaurants where the major Olympic sponsors and the Olympic family stayed were quiet for most meals except breakfast.

Bag lunches and catering at venues did the key lunch trade.

A couple of other things that should be kept in mind:

1) The athletes will not travel around the province nor eat at restaurants during the games. They typically stay in the athletes villages where all their food and accommodation is provided for them.

2) The majority of people who come to an Olympic city for the Games come solely for the Games, and do not explore outside the geographic region of the Games (at least during this visit). Many will come back in the future to explore more if they like what they see during their time here. In past host cities such as Salt Lake City and Sydney, areas outside of the geographic regions of the Games actually saw a decline in typical visitation during the 2 weeks of the Games and in the months leading up to them.

3) The number of tourists who will come to Vancouver for the Games who are not directly or indirectly tied to the Games may prove to be relatively small (similar to past host cities). The people who are tied to the Games typically come in waves of 4 days and do not have time to explore the region as their time is limited.

All this being said, I am a huge proponent of the Games and I believe that it has the potential to create a significant increase in long-term demand not just for Vancouver and Whistler, but for the rest of B.C. and Canada. The Games is only two weeks long and the majority of operators who bank on making a killing during that period will likely end up being disappointed.

In order to take advantage of the global publicity generated by the Games, it will be necessary for places such as the Okanagan and Vancouver Island to be highlighted to the media, IOC, corporate sponsors, etc. through dinners and other initiatives which will take place at Olympic venues.

This will be great opportunity for people to taste and experience the cuisine and wines of B.C. but it will be in the hands of event organizers and local chefs to ensure that the clients they are cooking for experience these ingredients.

I am looking forward to watching the progress of VANOC and being a part of promoting Vancouver and the rest of B.C. as a great culinary destination before, during and especially after the Olympic Games.

Cheers,

Eric

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