Restaurant and natural wine bar, Ubuntu Canteen has been a neighbourhood staple on Fraser Street since it opened in 2018. So, when it was announced on Instagram Wednesday (March 22) that it was closing its doors, locals were understandably upset.
"This is actually heartbreaking," one person commented under the post.
"Despite the sadness that comes with the closing of this establishment, it is important to reflect on the many ways in which it has impacted the community and contributed to the spiritual and personal growth of our staff and patrons," writes owner David Gunawan in the announcement.
Ubuntu is known for its collaborative dinners and oftentimes thematic wine pairing menus like explorations of the Loire Valley or Slovakian wines paired with thoughtful slow food made from local ingredients.
"At the heart of Ubuntu Canteen was a commitment to fostering relationships within humanity and our relationship to mother earth," says Gunawan who was previously the chef and owner of Farmer's Apprentice, Grapes and Soda and who opened Royal Dinette with the Donnelly Group.
"This spirit of unity and connectedness was reflected in every aspect of the restaurant, from the way the food was sourced and prepared to the way the staff interacted with one another and with our guests," he continues, saying that Ubuntu was his way of undermining the focus on individual success in capitalist culture.
Gunawan also expresses gratitude for the enrichment his restaurant brought to the community and "the memories and connections that will stay with us long after the restaurant is gone."
Other neighbourhood eateries and vendors who have worked with Ubuntu expressed their sadness as well, with one business saying, "honestly one of my all-time favourite places. I am so grateful to you and your staff, for creating a space that evoked intention, care, and community. Thank you for letting me sell pints of ice cream out of your closet."
Nemesis Coffee also weighed in: "You’re my favourite establishment in this city...You will be sorely and deeply missed."
"Ubuntu Canteen may be closing its doors, but its legacy will live on in the hearts and minds of all those who were fortunate enough to be a part of its community," he says.
The last day of service will be April 16.