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The East Van neighbourhood spot insists this isn't goodbye, plans to go out with a bang
Heartbreaking news for East Van today. Merchant’s Workshop, Commercial Drive’s quintessential neighbourhood restaurant has been sold and is set to close in its current space at Commercial and Graveley on August 16th. Chef/owners Doug Stephen and Lindsey Mann —who must be busy after opening the insanely popular DL Chicken Shack down the street— are taking a step back from their original spot. They insist, though, that this isn’t goodbye, their ambitions have simply outgrown their current location. They’re actively seeking a new space to relaunch the Merchant’s concept based around constantly changing, simple, innovative takes on seasonal ingredients. “We’re really proud of what we have accomplished,” said Stephen, “the support from our community and our neighbours has been incredible.” Doug and Lindsey could often be found floating through the old sun-soaked space, cooking food, pouring drinks, and chatting with guests like they were in their living room. It’s no wonder that the tiny restaurant became a favourite in the open-hearted East Van community, and among a cadre of industry veterans looking for a fantastic off-menu burger to go with their superflux beer and a shot of wild turkey after a long shift. Stephen & Mann (Photo: courtesy Merchant’s Workshop)Because Merchant’s never does things in half-measures, they’re throwing at least six closing parties, called the “Last Suppers Series.” The series will see Stephen and Mann joined by returning chef David Jackman and a rolling roster of visiting chefs, brewers, and friends. A Merchant’s party is never one to miss, and if you can make all six, we’d recommend it. It may not be goodbye, but it’s tough to say farewell for now to a restaurant that got hospitality so right. Sometimes, a restaurant needs to feel a little bit like home, for many of us Merchant’s has been that. We hope they’re back soon.
Wednesday, July 18, with chefs Jesse McMillian (Pizzeria Guerrilla, Tacqueria Guerilla), Gus Stiffenhofer-Brandson (Hawksworth)
Sunday, July 22, with chef Brian Satterford (Juke Fried Chicken), Strange Fellows Brewing Co.
August 2 to August 5, featuring Superflux Beer Company
Tuesday, August 14, 10-courses with Coalesce Brewing pairings
Wednesday, August 15, with the “OGs” (Stephen, Mann, and Jackman)
Thursday, August 16