The restaurant business is not for the faint-hearted, particularly in Vancouver where the cost of doing business is high. Throw in the lingering after-effects of a global pandemic, a staffing crisis, and staggering inflation, and it's no wonder that we said goodbye to our fair share of Vancouver restaurants in 2022.
By no means meant to be an exhaustive chronicle, this is a rundown of some notable restaurant closures of 2022, including some that happened right as 2021 ended and a few that never quite got back up and going after COVID-related shutdowns. Note: This list is for restaurants located within the city of Vancouver proper. From big chains losing long-time locations to many a venue falling to redevelopment, Vancouver saw several beloved restaurants serve their final meals in 2022.
LATE 2021 / EXACT DATE UNAVAILABLE / NEVER RE-OPENED
This was one of last year's longest goodbyes and a real "will they/won't they?" tale, but 2022 was without John Bishop's eponymous Kitsilano's fine dining restaurant entirely, after the storied spot shut down for good on Dec. 31, 2021.
New Oxford / Tavern at New Oxford
The pandemic found The Donnelly Group pausing ops at a few of its venues, and two years out a few changes were afoot this past year. First, Donnelly is now "Freehouse Collective" following a business rebrand. Second, the New Oxford (1144 Homer St) and its backside sibling Tavern at New Oxford (1141 Hamilton) are no more. The New Oxford pub is now home to two concepts - the small counter-serve/take-out HQ for Hundy, a popular burger spot that once shared space with sibling Their There in Kits, and a speakeasy-style hidden cocktail bar called The Stock Room. Freehouse (which operates the Stock Room, but not Hundy, though the two have close ties) also opened a concept called Isabelle's in the old Tavern at New Oxford space.
Nosh by Glowbal
Situated on the ground floor of the swanky Telus Garden building on Georgia, steps from Glowbal's opulent flagship namesake, Nosh was popular pre-pandemic with office dwellers for its casual fare, like salads, pastries, coffee drinks, and other lunch-friendly eats. The restaurant shuttered temporarily during the pandemic, however, it was a challenge for the location to resume operations. Glowbal called it quits on the concept in early 2022, but did not confirm an exact date.
Laboratory Sous Vide
In Dec. 2021, Laboratory initiated what they called a "temporary closure," however in the new year the restaurant did not reopen. The website was closed and in late Feb. 2022 "for lease" signs were up in the vacated space. Lemon Fusion Kitchen and Bar will be the new tenant at 575 W Georgia St, opening soon.
Bellagio Cafe - Convention Centre
A big change-up at 1055 Canada Place - the west building of the Convention Centre - in unit 26 of the sprawling complex. The space had previously been the second location of Bellagio Café, a Vancouver Italian restaurant that continues to operate at 773 Hornby St, not too far away. Bellagio didn't mark the closure publicly. The first location of Canadian steakhouse chain Chop situated in Vancouver proper moved in, opening in early December 2022.
The swanky nightclub venue underground at the Rosewood Hotel Georgia did not survive the pandemic. In 2022 we learned the impressive space would be transformed into The Herrick. This latest Vancouver project from the team behind the city's popular Keefer Bar, hopes to invoke the historic spirit of the hotel and offer a similar allure to the lounges and bars of years past in the space. We hope they open soon!
The quirky Chinatown oyster bar, which opened in October 2020 at 227 E Pender St in Chinatown, called it quits this year, quietly exiting sometime this spring. The oyster bar was all about slurping the mollusks and presenting them with creative toppings. The interior was sparse and modern, with a 64-foot custom table that swirls through the modern and minimalist space.
Copper Branch, the highly-anticipated Vancouver debut of the Montreal-based fast-casual chain, was located at 280 Nelson St in Yaletown, and shut down sometime this spring. Copper Branch began in 2014 in Montreal, and expanded rapidly in Quebec, as well as in France, Belgium, and the United States. Already in its place is Hazukido, a bakery cafe that specializes in "freshly baked specialty croissants inspired by Europe and Japan."
Located at 2685 Arbutus St, the long-standing corner spot was a popular favourite that in recent years had been under new ownership and seen its original offerings shift to a menu of Japanese and Italian fare. It appeared the restaurant did not operate beyond December 2021.
25-year veteran The Whip, located at 209 East 6th Ave in Mount Pleasant, held its final service on Jan. 14. The neighbourhood joint has a pub-style vibe and a menu loaded with hearty, approachable fare. Now in its place, the award-winning Bar Susu, a modern share plates and natural wine bar/restaurant.
Storm Crow Alehouse
The "sports bar for geeks" specialized in all things nerdy, like "fantasy, science fiction and horror fandom," along with dice, card, and role-playing games but ended its run on Jan. 16. The Alehouse was the second Storm Crow venture in Vancouver; the "nerd bar" at 1619 West Broadway was a sibling spot to its predecessor, the Storm Crow Tavern on Commercial Drive, which launched nearly a decade ago. Storm Crow Tavern, however, shut down in early 2020.
"For almost two years we battled hard to keep Open Outcry operating," stated owner Sean Heather, describing the numerous "pandemic pivots" put into place to make things work at 811 W Pender St. "Every time that we got some traction, COVID pulled the legs out from under us." To that end, the restaurant in the old stock exchange building confirmed in mid-January it was closed. Though Heather suggested it might not be permanent, in the ensuing months, the space did end up on the market, so it seems Open Outcry was, in fact, not going to re-open.
Raga Restaurant at 1177 W Broadway, closed its doors permanently on Jan. 23. The restaurant, which opened in 1981, was a family-run business, specializing in multi-regional Indian cuisine featuring recipes created by a chef who had cooked for India's Nehru-Gandhi family.
Big Rock Brewery
The Calgary-based beer company announced Jan. 25 that it was permanently closing the taproom and restaurant portions of its Vancouver branch, located at the corner of 4th Avenue and Alberta Street.
The burger joint operating out of Kitsilano arcade bar Glitch (2287 W Broadway) announced in January it was closing temporarily to regroup ahead of a planned re-launch. However, so far there has been no ressurrection of the brand, and the website it had been using is now expried. The Instagram account says Mimi's Burgers is "COMING SOON" and will be "better than ever." No new information is available.
The Japanese restaurant began as an omakase sushi bar in late 2017, but during the pandemic shifted to offer comfort eats for take-out, like curry rice, donburi, seasoned fries, and a signature creation called the "Japanese Wrap." At that point, Super Hiro's stopped offering raw fish or sushi of any kind. This year, Super Hiro's owner, Chef Hiroki Watanabe, opted to bring the restaurant's run to an end, closing on March 25. Watanabe plans to carry on with the brand, just in a different format. Folke, an all-vegetarian restaurant, has taken its place at the location.
The Rise Eatery
South Granville's The Rise said they aren't abandoning the brand, but rather seeking another place to set up shop, because it had become too costly to operate where they were. Instead of signing on for more years at 3121 Granville St, The Rise is "actively looking to relocate to a more sustainable location." Their last day of business in the current location was March 13. Now open in its place: Italian-influenced Impostori.
Cactus Club - Robson Street
One of the chain's oldest Vancouver locations served its final Feenie Burgers, Bellinis, and Crispy Yam Fries this March. The lease was up at 1136 Robson St and the doors closed March 27. The busy 20-year-old location was situated beneath another restaurant, Zefferelli's, but the retail space remains for lease. Rumours have put a few different scenarios out there; one, that Zefferelli's would take over the bottom space, or, two, that the upstairs Italian joint was also on its way out.
Slickity Jim's Chat N Chew
"A quarter of a century of serving Vancouver and it’s time to hang up the eggs for now," shared owners of the irreverent Mount Pleasant diner. Located at 3475 Main St, Slickity Jim's Chat N Chew was a neighbourhood fixture for hearty a.m. eats with a little edge and a sense of humour. Their last day was April 10 and the address is now home to Suyo, a modern Peruvian restaurant.
The Cove Pub
"We've survived a pandemic, fire, and a flood or two, but the time has now come for us to wander off into the sunset and take care of our old bones," begins the heartfelt message from operators of Kitsilano's The Cove Pub, which closed for good on April 30. The popular hangout at 3681 W 4th Ave was a real local spot for people who live and play in Kits.
Daniel Chocolates - Robson
The Vancouver-based Belgian chocolatier, whose confections are sold across Canada through retail partners, closed down its original shop on April 22 after 41 years at 1105 Robson St.
Kafka's Coffee - Main Street
Citing "an unsustainable rent increase and the relentless disruptive construction" right outside cafe doors, Kafka's Coffee said the decision to close its original location was made "with a heavy heart," adding: "It’s straight-up hard making a small independent business work in this climate." The cafe's last day was April 27.
Just Another Coffee Shop
Was it really the "world's longest-running pop-up coffee shop"? Hard to say. Regardless, the year-long run of the temporary Just Another Coffee Shop in Kitsilano came to an end on April 24. Recently opened in the location is an all-day cafe concept called Brightside.
The plant-based sibling to Juke Fried Chicken shut down its West End restaurant at 1074 Davie St on May 28. Since then, Beetbox has popped up here and there via Juke, though its space on Davie was quickly flipped into another location of popular cheeky taco spot Gringo, which debuted July 29.
Rocky Mountain Flatbread - Kitsilano
At the end of May, Rocky Mountain Flatbread moved out of its Kitsilano location after 16 years of serving pizzas to the neighbourhood. The 1876 W 1st Ave address is now Radish, from the people behind Nook and Oddfish resturants.
Nancy Go Yaya
It was one of the most exciting restaurant openings in Vancouver in 2021, but just months later, Nancy Go Yaya was saying farewell. The gradual closure began in June with the end of the Singaporean restaurant's popular brunch service. By July 3, the restaurant as we knew it at 265 E Pender St was all done.
Our Town Cafe
A fixture in the Mount Pleasant community since 2003 - thanks in no small part to its "slice-of-pie-shaped home" in the Vernon Block Building where Kingsway and Main meet Broadway - Our Town Café closed up on June 11.
6 Degrees Eatery
The owners of the 1590 Coal Harbour Quay restaurant announced July 20 the abrupt and immediate closure of their much-loved breakfast spot, calling it a "bittersweet" decision. However, they were also already about to embark on another venture, opening the upscale Pacific Northwest dinner spot Archer, which opened in the fall. In the works for the former 6 Degrees space is something called Caviar Cafe.
Larry's Market - Chinatown
Tasty Market & Café has been open since about mid-September at 291 E Georgia St. The address was previously - and briefly - home to the Vancouver outpost of North Vancouver-based Larry's Market, a vegetarian boutique grocer that closed the location down this summer. V.I.A. reached out to Larry's Market for comment regarding the closure but did not receive a response.
Wallflower Diner was known for its quirkiness and making vegetarian and vegan versions of their dishes. The owners even hosted a Rick Moranis-themed art show (there's a cool video about it too). The diner's last day open was July 12. In its place already at 2420 Main St is Wild Thing.
Johnny Rockets left Western Canada after quietly closing its last four locations in Victoria and Vancouver. The modern diner-style restaurant had locations at Broadway and Oak and at Nelson and Howe, but by early July both were papered over and "For Lease" signs were up. So far, we know the Nelson space will be a Victoria-based burger and fries joint called Burger Crush, coming soon.
Huang's Beef Noodle
Huang's Beef Noodle at 6940 Victoria Dr closed its doors permanently on July 23. Owners of the long-standing South Vancouver Taiwanese restaurant told customers in a heartfelt farewell notice that the closure stemmed from lease issues. A new restaurant is in the rpcoess of setting up in the space, with a business permit pending.
Deutsches Haus Restaurant
It's more of a "See you in a bit" than a "Goodbye forever" from the folks at the Deutsches Haus Restaurant. The historic restaurant was founded and run by the Vancouver Alpen Club; for decades it was the site of many traditional meals and events at the club's building. As that building is being redeveloped, the restaurant closed its doors on July 24.
After more than 30 years of serving breakfast and mid-morning meals, Nelly's Grill turned off the grill at the end of July. The small brunch place, located near Arbutus at 2061 W 4th Ave, is one of several brunch places within a couple of blocks of Kitsilano, along with Jam Cafe and Sophie's Cosmic Cafe.
Bad Apple, a casual vegan joint, ceased operations at 2481 E Hastings St at the end of August. The restaurant concept took over the former What's Up? Hot Dog! shop in the fall of 2020, maintaining many of the previous spot's best-selling plant-based menu items. Sliding in the vacated space will be something called It's Okay, which describes itself as "a neighbourhood bar that’s open late." Operators are making progress but remain "opening soon."
Fiore, at 1485 W 12th Ave (in the ex-Siena space), was one of several restaurants in an expanding group that also includes Stable HOuse Bistro, Fiore Famiglia, and Coquette, a French-inspired brasserie on Arbutus that opened in 2022. By mid-August, the restaurant's website offered this message: "Fiore South Granville is indefinitely closed until further notice. In the meantime check out our sister restaurants."
Browns on 4th in Kitsilano
In another loss to the chains, Browns Socialhouse shuttered its 2296 W 4th Ave restaurant at the end of September. After 16 years, the lease was up, and operators were not keen to carry on. Browns Restaurant Group says the Point Grey outpost, at 10th and Alma would be the closest one to the now-shuttered Kits location, for those in the area looking for a familiar experience.
Virtuous Pie - UBC
The last plant-based pizza was sliced up Sept. 25 at Virtuous Pie's UBC location. The all-vegan pizza-focused restaurant launched its Wesbrook Village outpost in early 2018. They continue to operate the original Chinatown location.
BiBo - Kitsilano
BiBo, which since 2011 had been located at 1835 W 4th Ave, announced its closure in September. Known for its menu of Italian regional specialties, BiBo served pasta and pizzas, along with salads, appetizers, classic desserts, and plenty of Italian wine. Fans of the restaurant's fare will find a similar and expansive offering at BiBo's remaining location in Richmond.
The Keefer Yard
File this one under: Patio ventures that had a life of their own that didn't survive 2022. The Keefer Bar's "Keefer Yard" patio began as a pandemic project to help people gather safely with friends, writes the post. "It brought a feeling of normalcy during a dizzying time," the owner added, and helped the bar remain open when indoor dining was struggling. In late September, The Keefer Bar shared that the City of Vancouver would not permit them to carry on with the project.
The Kitsilano pub was situated at 2884 W Broadway for 11 years and was a go-to for celebrations and watching televised live sports in the city. The last day was Sept. 18. The reason for the permanent closure was "the significant rising prices of goods, labour and rent have made it untenable," according to pub operators.
Clocking nearly 11 years of dishing up Asian-inspired brunch favourites, The Union wound things down this October. The Cascade Group shut down the 219 Union St restaurant on Oct. 23. The space was turned over super swiftly, and is now The Darkside, the second venture from the team behind Kerrisdale's Land & Sea, dishing up a fun menu of pan-Asian gastropub-style eats with late night vibes.
Cafe Deux Soleils
Located at 2096 Commercial Dr, Cafe Deux Soleils was to many in the neighbourhood - and city - a trusted local haunt, known for its cafe fare, community focus, and support of the local arts scene. On Oct. 4, the cafe shared it was permanently closed. The new occupant will open up in early 2023: Chanco, the indie Mexican spot that's relocating from Davie Street.
Do Chay - Yaletown
The Yaletown restaurant first opened as House Special but rebranded as the second outpost of Do Chay, their popular sibling concept, in 2020. Do Chay's location on Kingsway will remain open for Vancouverites to enjoy their vegetarian Vietnamese fare, but they shut down at 1269 Hamilton St on Nov. 9. Already queued up to take its place is a concept called Buddha Chay, which also specializes in modern vegetarian Vietnamese.
Planetary Burger, which operated out of 3088 Main St, opened its doors in the fall of 2019. Now the plant-based eatery - which shifted its name to Planetary Kitchen - has revealed it is entering a new chapter of the business, which means shutting down its counter-serve location. The location closed down Dec. 19.
Opened in 1970, the restaurant at 151 W Broadway in Fairview was a staple for many during its long tenure. The family-owned business was known for its martinis, of course, but also its signature pizzas on whole wheat crust. The last day was Dec. 22.
Fets Whisky Kitchen
It may be home to "one of the world's largest whisky selections," but after a 36-year run (and a couple of name changes), Fets Whisky Kitchen will be closing permanently on Dec. 23, 2022. The lease is up, and the owners won't be renewing. In recent years, Fets has been known for its legal battle with the B.C. liquor control board.
Denny's - SW Marine Drive
After 50 years, the end is officially in sight for Denny's in South Vancouver as the property makes way for a massive redevelopment project. The last day of business at Denny's at 622 SW Marine Dr will be Dec. 26, 2022.
Terra Breads - Kitsilano
Citing "changing times" and the "lease ending" at 2380 W 4th Ave, Terra will close up shop as the year comes to a close, wrapping up three decades of bread, pastries, and coffees at its original Kitsilano location on Dec. 31.
Looking ahead, we know that January 2023 it will include the final days of Side Hustle Sandwich at 151 E 8th Ave in Mount Pleasant. Known for its menu of hearty sandwiches with playful names (like the Dr. Bahn Mi Henry), Side Hustle's operator recently shared on social media that the time has come to shut things down.
With files from Maria Diment and Brendan Kergin