With just 13 seats, a strict no cellphone policy, and one of the city's best burgers, East Vancouver's Trans Am Restaurant has been a critical darling - and a fan favourite - for some time now. However, in a heartfelt video posted Saturday to the bar-restaurant's Instagram page, owner Gianmarco Colannino said "the Trans Am machine is done."
Shortly after B.C.'s bars and restaurants had to close their doors due to public health orders in the face of the COVID-19 crisis in March, Trans Am pivoted to offer burgers and drinks in a to-go format.
Operating as a take-out model over the last several weeks, customers have been able to enjoy Trans Am's epic cheeseburgers - lauded as among, if not the, best in the city - as well as charcuterie, bottles of chianti, and cocktails like a classic Negroni or Boulevardier.
Named Vancouver Magazine Restaurant Awards' 2020 Bar of the Year (before COVID-19 forced the Awards to hold up indefinitely, too), Trans Am has been a steady go-to, with guests eager to nab a coveted seat in the small space - even if it meant they couldn't Instagram their craft cocktails and juicy, thick, rich burgers. It was a joy to sip a well-made drink in the near-dark, vinyl playing, and disconnect a little.
"What makes Trans Am what it is? It’s the social interaction, the escape from reality, while offering a space where people have the chance step out of their boundaries and meet new people," writes Colannino on Instagram.
"Unfortunately with the way things are going, this concept just doesn’t work right now," he continues.
True - it's hard to imagine a way to serve even a handful of people, properly distanced per health orders, and still make ends meet.
So what is to become of Trans Am? It's a little unclear, but Colannino hopes to assure everyone it's not the absolute end of everything.
"But just because this chapter is done, doesn’t mean there isn’t going to be a chapter 2. We may be down, but we’re not out. Thank you to our faithful Trans Am family, we love you and need you to trust that we will be back. The amount of support we’ve received from you has been beyond anything I could have imagined. In Trans Am fashion, we won’t let you down, think of it like this, we’re just going to slap a couple turbos onto this beast. If you thought Trans Am was fucking cool, chapter 2 will blow you away, hopefully."