I did my passeggiata yesterday in a mix of winter and spring weather, taking many rests along the way.
Starting as usual at the southern end of my boundary, the Jamjar Restaurant at 2280 Commercial gets a good review in the Daily Hive’s list of Best Lebanese Restaurants.
2155 Commercial, an upstairs space by the Commercial Bowling Lanes, used to be a dance academy but has now morphed into an archery school under the name Lykopis Archery. I suspect the change was made a couple of months ago but I just noticed it today. It is currently being renovated.
The Cafe Deux Soleils at 2096 Commercial has been a fixture for almost 25 years. It continues to be packed an is now rated as one of the best Kid Friendly Restaurants in Vancouver by the Daily Hive.
The final vacant double-width 1800 sq.ft. spot in the new-ish storefronts at 2088 is to be taken up with a second location for the Kits-based Grounds For Coffee, well known for their cinnamon buns. Don’t know the opening date yet. According to an interview in the Straight, the owner Dan Hilton likes the new space: “This is a great space. You’ve got windows in the front and back, beautiful trees in front of us, and light coming in everywhere.”
Almost next door, at 2080, the Elephant Garden Creamery gets a rave review for its ice cream and their variety of unusual flavours. I can finally attest to the quality myself. The shop is bright, clean, and very friendly. I tasted a few flavours — all delicious — and came away with a pint of mango coconut sticky rice. It was truly wonderful.
The Smoke Shop at 1840 Commercial, with its displays of expensive glass bongs and similar, has closed.
The Pulp Fiction bookstore at 1830 Commercial is said to be doubling in size by moving to 1744 Commercial in the next month or so.
Earlier last month I heard a rumour from a trusted correspondent that Rufus Drums & Guitars has purchased the old Wonderbucks building at 1801 Commercial. They are currently on W. 10th but I was told they would move to the Drive in April. It seemed like an expensive development play just for a retail store, but seems to be true.
There is a long history of musical instrument stores on the Drive, going back to the 1910s. This will be a very welcome addition to that list.
The process for “legalizing” the cannabis store, the KushKlub, at 1735 Commercial seems to be moving forward as slowly as these things tend to do.
Meanwhile, the Bubble Tea Lifestyle space at 1706 seems to have closed. I never actually saw anyone in there for the months it has been open.
The new bakery-cafe (we have so many now) in Il Mercato Mall, the Bench Bakehouse, gets a great review from I Live in East Vancouver.
I wrote last month about the intimate theatre experience available tonight and on Sunday at the Drive Coffee Bar at 1670 Commercial.
At 1590 Commercial, the Ugly Dumpling gets a detailed review in the Asian Pacific Post.
Sopra Sotto at 1510 Commercial is the only restaurant in our slice of the Drive to make it into the Daily Hive‘s Best 15 Italian Restaurants in Vancouver.
The Charlatan bar-restaurant at 1447 Commercial is improving and expanding their outdoor patio.
At 1399 Commercial, the new Livia Bakery & Cafe continues to get good press. Here is a good review of the cafe and a profile of Claire Livia Lassam, the owner.
There is a profile of Andrew Hounslow, chef at Havana, in the Vancouver Sun.
Last month, I reported that the “pop-up boutique” at 1206 Commercial ha closed. That was a mistake as I still see it in operation every once in a while over the last few weeks.
Vacancies on the Drive this month: 2235 Commercial (5 months vacant), 2086 (14 months), 2088 (14 months), 1840 (1 month), 1812 (12 months), 1810 (12 months), 1801 (26 months), 1744 (4 months), 1735 (5 months), 1706 (1 month), 1409 (6 months), 1408 (11 months), 952 (5 months).
Larger Trends in Retail
This massive increase in dollar stores, especially in poorer neighbourhoods, is called “alarming” in this report.
Meanwhile, retail bankruptcies continue to affect main street.
Previous Changes on the Drive editions.