At the end of September, Bridges Restaurant will close down for an extensive "transformation" and rebrand. So what will the veteran big yellow building become?
When the restaurant reopens in spring 2022, it will be called Tap & Barrel Bridges, merging Frankel's longstanding flagship restaurant brand with the 41-year-old Bridges.
Frankel has a deep connection to Bridges; in the seventies, Frankel’s Uncle Michael Seelig and Nathan Divinsky, both UBC professors, came up with the concept for a pub-style restaurant. They eventually joined forces in 1979 with partners Abe Sacks, Manny Glasser, former Canadian Prime Minister Kim Campbell, and, later, Frankel’s parents George and Tamara.
“Bridges is what moved my family to Vancouver in 1979. I have had a strong emotional connection to Bridges and Granville Island throughout my life," explained Frankel in a media release issued to announce his purchase.
When the lease was set to expire three years ago, Frankel, who has built his own empire of Vancouver restaurants, including several Tap & Barrel locations, knew he had to bring it into the fold. (Real Vancouver restaurant nerds will know that Frankel was the proprietor of a West End spot called Delilah's that was the centrepiece of a reality TV show called Conviction Kitchen; Delilah was a "celebrity bartender" who helped bring acclaim to the downstairs level pub at Bridges.)
A revamp for Bridges was always the plan, but was just announced officially this summer.
“Bridges is a very special place for me; as such, I’m emotionally invested in transforming this space into something very important and meaningful,” said Frankel in a media release. “I am part of its history, and now I look forward to being part of its future."
Bridges - as we know it - will offer its last service Sept. 26. Then the interior "will be taken down to its studs," and the walls and kitchens moved.
The restaurant will be re-done using "local materials, crafted by local artists, and reclaimed industrial materials that celebrate the legacy of Granville Island."
Tap & Barrel Bridges will also serve as a test kitchen for Frankel's restaurant group.