Changes On The Drive #68

April 1, 2017

It was another beautiful day to go walking this morning as the rain stayed away, having drained itself in torrents overnight.

Staring as usual down at the southern end of the Drive, I noticed that the former Kingdom Beauty store at 2277 Commercial has been given a bright new coat of paint and looks very smart.  Peering inside, where workmen continue a major reno, it looks like it is to be a restaurant or a food store with a serving counter.


Across the street, the 77K Freeze shop is now open. That space had been vacant for over a year and a half and it is good to see it being used. I was sorely tempted to try some ice cream but I was already full from the lemon ricotta pancakes I made for breakfast.


What used to be Charley and Jean Russell’s old house and garden at 2084 Commercial is now being built upon. It looks like two storefronts are going in there.


North one block, I notice that the Barefoot Contessa clothing store at 1928 has morphed into The Precious and Few consignment outlet.  The sign calls it a “popup shop” so I don’t know if this is permanent.

The Waves Coffee shop on the corner of Third at 1858 Commercial has closed. It always seemed busy when I walked by, so this was something of a surprise.  Also still vacant are 1801 (vacant 2 months), 1740 (6 months), and 1735 (2 months).  The Bubble Tea store promised for 1706 Commercial is still not open (4 months).

In Il Mercato, the former Strawberry Bakery site still languishes in vacancy after 27 months.  Also still closed is the Libra Room at 1608. The “opening soon” signs have been there for all the 8 months it has been closed.

The MOSAIC services organization, upstairs at 1522, is moving this summer to new offices in South Vancouver. I am not sure if there will still be an office here at that time.  I wrote to them about it, but have received no response.

Caffe Roma, which has graced the corner of Grant and Commercial since 1990 seems finally to have closed. As I have catalogued in previous Changes, it changed names last year to the Grant Street Social Club and then back again to Roma, before mechanical issues with the plumbing (I am told) forced it to shut down 5 months ago. They have had “Opening Soon” signs on the windows for a few months but now there is a new sign indicating a new owner.

Just what the Drive needs is another pizza place!  I’m guessing this one won’t be competing with the by-the-slice joints but rather against Famoso, Lombardo’s and Marcello’s.

Across the street, the Charlatan at 1447 Commercial is still closed “for renovations” (2 months). However, no work seems to have been done on it so far as one can see.

The Merchant’s Oyster bar at 1590 Commercial has a new name and new menu.  It is now called Merchant’s Workshop with “experimental” menus on Mondays. I wonder if this has anything to do with the disaster that is sweeping the BC shellfish industry this year.

Next door at 1588, Dolce Amore continues to amaze.  I heard that the owner recently went to Italy for “Gelato University”.  This was a decadent late lunch yesterday …

… rhubarb pie and mascarpone gelato. Wow, seriously good stuff!

The storefront at 1408 is still not open (8 months) but they have a sign on the canopy indicating that a new restaurant — Bao Down on the Drive — really is going to open soon.

At 1376, where Bikes on the Drive had the double storefront, the shopfitting seems to be nearly complete after a 3 month vacancy, and there is a sign for Rosemary Rocksalt Bagels. Although both storefronts seem to have been re-fitted, I am still not sure if the bagel place is taking both or just one, though I tend to think it will be a single.


Still vacant are 1303 (6 months), 1104 (an astounding 35 months), 952 (7 months vacant, but with everything still in the store), and 902 (23 months).  In the last-named, it looks as if Robin’s Pharmacy has given up on expanding into the space as there is a new For Lease sign prominently displayed.

To end on positive notes:  the recently-opened and even more recently closed Ramen place at 1179 Commercial has rapidly changed into a new restaurant, Thai Basil …


… and Watermelon, of the Licorice Parlour at 1002, has opened a second store on Granville Island. Well done!


Previous Changes on the Drive editions

Image: Lifelines

April 1, 2017


April 1, 2017

“Isn’t it appropriate that April, the month of taxes, begins with All Fool’s Day and ends with cries of “May Day!”

–  Nan Williams