Crab Park Chowdery to close down in wake of ‘rat in soup’ scandal

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Crab Park Chowdery, the small Gastown restaurant specializing in chowders and grilled sandwiches, has announced they are closing up for good.

The restaurant, which has been open about two years, was thrust into the spotlight over the last weeks after a customer’s Instagram post showing what appears to be a rat carcass being spooned out of a bowl of their soup went viral.

clam chowder crab park chowdery
Photo by Lindsay William-Ross

In a social media posting shared the night of Jan. 16, Crab Park Chowdery says their last day of service will be Jan. 20.

The soup shop also offers thanks to their staff and customers in their farewell post: “We truly can’t thank everyone enough for the love, support and well wishes we’ve received over the last two years and most recently over the last few weeks.”

Crab Park Chowdery admits that the financial burden of the fallout period following the “rat soup” video has proven to be too great to continue.

“We tried to weather the storm best we could but there is so many factors that made the uphill battle more than we could manage,” the restaurant says on Instagram in response to customer comments.

The “rat in soup” video was posted on Instagram on the afternoon of Dec. 27, and soon was being widely circulated online and in the press. The video claims to show a customer spooning a rat carcass out of a bread bowl of soup served at Crab Park Chowdery.

The soup, however, is not prepared at the Chowdery itself, but rather the restaurant had been renting a kitchen space on the premises of Mamie Taylor’s to prepare their soups and chowders for delivery to their Gastown storefront.

In the wake of the incident, Vancouver Coastal Health shut down Mamie Taylor’s commissary kitchen due to evidence of rodent activity in the space; Crab Park Chowdery was permitted to remain open, since the soup was not made at that location.

On Dec. 29, Mamie Taylor’s was given the all-clear to re-open, and they’ve taken the additional measure to end their commissary rental program, however they also have cut ties with Crab Park Chowdery, who have been using their food truck to prepare their soups in the meantime.

“We are 100% confident this rodent could not have come from our establishment,” said Crab Park Chowdery earlier this month.

Widespread speculation and discussion of the feasibility of the rat getting in the soup naturally–or deliberately–followed.

rat in soup
Still shot from the Instagram video (@pisun_ne_ne /Instagram)

Fans of Crab Park’s chowders may want to head to the Gastown shop in the next couple of days to say farewell, however it is not entirely the end of the line for the eatery. Crab Park confirms that they will continue to operate their food cart; currently the team is “figuring out the best plan” to do so.

Here is the Crab Park Chowdery closing statement in full:

“All the amazing memories of the last two years will be with us for a lifetime. The new friends we all made and community events we were able to partake in. Helping to provide hot meals to the individuals and groups in need of the DTES. Building a brand we all were and still are very proud to have created. Being able to provide jobs to an amazing group of humans who all became family and life long friends. It’s with heavy hearts that we regretfully inform all of our guests, friends and family members that this Sunday January 20th will be our last day in business. We truly can’t thank everyone enough for the love, support and well wishes we’ve received over the last two years and most recently over the last few weeks. Please come down and say hello in the next four days. We’d love to say our goodbyes or for some of you maybe a first hello. Life is a funny journey, it has all sorts of ups and downs. We know that with our heads held high and a can do attitude the next chapter will be an even better one. We will see you all real soon. You can truly accomplish anything with a little courage and support from your friends. ❤️ Sincerely,

Team Chowdery”

Crab Park Chowdery is located at 221 Abbott Street in Vancouver

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Lindsay is the Managing Editor of Vancouver Is Awesome. A fifth generation Vancouverite, she was previously the Food Editor of Daily Hive, Senior Editor of Vancity Buzz, and Editor-in-Chief of LAist.com. Lindsay grew up in Vancouver and Toronto, then spent over 20 years in Los Angeles, where SHE (look no typo!) earned her Masters in English, attended culinary school, and was an English professor. Lindsay's first published piece was December 1980 in The Province; it was her letter to Santa. E-mail: lindsay@vancouverisawesome.com