An exciting new restaurant project is unfolding in Vancouver's Mount Pleasant neighbourhood, with plans to have the doors open in 2021.
Called Saola, the modern Asian restaurant is under construction at 2415 Main Street.
Saola takes its name and inspiration from the forest-dwelling “Asian Unicorn” known to be one of the world’s rarest large mammals.
Behind the project are a pair of Vancouver food industry vets plus some talent from B.C.'s performing arts world. The Saola team is comprised of Do Chay’s Patrick Do, Vancouver-born actor and producer Osric Chau (Supernatural), trained-chef and seasoned hospitality veteran Kevin Lin, and actor and writer Nicholas Carey.
Telling stories through food
What it comes down to for the quartet is the notion of food as storytelling.
"At Saola, we want to tell our story through a multi-sensory dining experience, a glimpse into our past, who we are today, and what we could be in the future," explains Chau.
Renovations are underway at the Main Street address that had previously been home to a part of Kam's Bakery.
It's a busy time on that block: next door at 2419 Middle Eastern food truck Superbaba has recently opened up its first Vancouver brick-and-mortar. For some time, the thought was that the 1,950-square-foot space at 2415 would be the new home of Fayuca, the onetime Yaletown upscale modern Mexican restaurant that closed down in spring 2019 - but things have certainly changed there.
Once things are up and running at Saola, expect a Pan-Asian menu created by Do and Lin.
“The pandemic may be slowing our timeline down a bit, but we believe wholeheartedly in Saola and creating something new and exciting for Vancouver," adds Do.
Find updates on the restaurant's progress via its Instagram page at @LoveSaola.