Changes On The Drive #116

I had hoped that this would be the turnaround month, when things started to look up for businesses on the Drive. And it is true that there are a number of new signs and canopies for businesses opening soon (see below). However, Dr. Henry’s news this week that all restaurants are banned from in-door dining until April 19 has left a lot of places suddenly closed yet again. That being said, yesterday, when I did the walk, was warm and sunny and all the patios were busy and several places (Fets, Havana, the Social, and Park Drive, for example) were rapidly expanding their patios onto the sidewalks and into the street.

Grounds for Coffee at 2088 Commercial gets a shout out for their “legendary” cinnamon buns.

The storefront at 1848 is still vacant but is soon to be a Liberty Tax outlet, giving some competition to H&R Block.

For some months now, Cannibal Cafe has been advertising the possibility of expanding next door to 1816 Commercial to open a Motherclucker’s Chicken place. But I see this month there is a new For Lease sign on the door, so perhaps they have give up on that idea.

La Grotta del Formaggio at 1791 Commercial is unsurprisingly listed as one of the seven best cheese shops in Vancouver.

What used to be a Starbucks at 1752 Commercial is still vacant, but the sign says a new Mexican Restaurant — Sol y Limon — will be opening soon.

At 1740 Commercial, the storefront is still vacant, but a new canopy suggests a furnishings doo-dads store is about to grace us with its presence.

At 1678 Commercial there is a new sign advertising the coming of Vancity Fried Chicken, though the store is still vacant right now.

The former Libra Room at 1608-12 Commercial is getting a complete make-over externally in preparation for opening as a Greek restaurant (?).

Where Ugly Dumplings is now, at 1590 Commercial, there used to be Merchant’s Workshop. Scout magazine has a fond look back at the place where chefs used to like to hang out.

Memphis Blues at 1342 Commercial is looking for all kinds of staff: supervisors, line cooks, bartenders, etc. That’s a welcome sign in these covid-depressed times.

Also receiving great reviews for their cinnamon buns is Livia’s at 1339 Commercial.

The haphazardly-occupied storefront at 1303 Commercial is now a store called Velveteen Vintage.

The large double-front at 1005 Commercial is soon to be the home of Turnabout Luxury Resale, a designer consignment store.

The team behind Kin Kao at 903 Commercial are working on opening a second location at 317 E. Broadway in Mount Pleasant. The team and the name will be the same, but the menu will be completely different. “Tang and the core kitchen crew are being given the green light to do completely new things, retooling family recipes and tweaking regional specialities. The drinks program will also be different, with cocktails and wine making playing larger roles.”

  • * * * * *

I still haven’t called Penelope’s at 1009 vacant, but it has been covid-closed now for a full year

Vacancies on the Drive this month: 

2283 Commercial (4 months vacant), 2277 (21 months), 2223 (25 months), 2111 (11 months), 2057 (4 months), 1848 (2 months), 1816 (11 months), 1752 (14 months), 1748 (8 months), 1740 (20 months), 1733 (6 months), 1728 (12 months), 1678 (7 months), 1608-12 (15 months), 1503 (4 months), 1305 (12 months), 1301 (6 months), 1206 (6 months), 1003 (14 months), 935 (14 months), 931 (9 months), 902 (6 months).

Previous Changes On The Drive editions.

9 Responses to Changes On The Drive #116

  1. Dorothy Barkley says:

    Just a little FYI, the Starbucks opposite NoFrills has also closed, Not sure if the. numbers didn’t add up at this and the Commercial Drive locations or if for some corporate reason.

    • jakking says:

      Over that past 6 months or so they have closed literally hundreds of stores. Overexpanded, I would guess.

  2. The new restaurant at 2nd and Commercial is Sal Y Limon from the Kingsway and Fraser St location. Penelope location now vacant he had left quite a while ago.

    • jakking says:

      I’m not yet convinced about Penelope’s. There is no indication that the space is vacant and no attempt has been made to re-let the storefront. In addition, the telephone lone still works, so someone is paying for it. It is odd indeed.

    • Ferry Seagull says:

      There was a large crowd (2 doors, 20 people in line at each door) and many cars arriving last Saturday evening at the Sal y Limon on 701 Fraser.
      If the crowd moves over to the Drive, it will be a monster hit for the Drive.

  3. Robert says:

    Can you figure out what’s the Covid Cafe – located beside Vancouver Donair. Why would they name it that.

  4. jakking says:

    My guess is the name is in remembrance of the time that allowed them to come into being. I spoke with one of the young folks there on Wednesday and she told me they expect to open in about three weeks (after 19 April I suppose).

  5. Ferry Seagull says:

    “At 1740 Commercial, the storefront is still vacant, but a new canopy suggests a furnishings doo-dads store is about to grace us with its presence.”

    A very charming shop of crafts from Vietnam, with game boards for Chess, Chinese Chess, Mancala, Ludo (Parcheesi), and other such games. Woven baskets and small rustic cabinets.
    I was in there on Monday.

    [ R.C. Bell. Board and Table Games from Many Civilizations (free download from LibGen at ]

    They will have more stock and furniture when the next shipment from Vietnam comes in, late next month.

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