Team Behind Wild Thing Snack Bar Takes Second Location – Scout Magazine
The same folks who recently opened the Wild Thing Snack Bar at 1867 Powell Street have just taken over a second space at 2420 Main Street (formerly Wallflower).
It’s important to have a strong support system when you open a restaurant, but opening a second restaurant – just six weeks after opening the first – is a venture that will test the strongest of relationships (if you didn’t call all your favors in the first round, you definitely will in the second round). It’s a good thing that this team is big enough to be a support network in itself.
A reminder about the powerful brigade of veterinarians in the hotel industry who are embarking on this project:
Ezra Kish (The Cobalt, The Boxcar, The Ellis Building and formerly The American) will handle construction and management; Erin Rideout (who has spent many years working in/managing bars and restaurants in Vancouver, including several on Main Street) will be responsible for the reception and wine and beverage program. Todd Graham of HandTaste Ferments and Kody Abrams (formerly Greenhorn Cafe) will be cooking. Rayne Williams (formerly head barista and coffee roaster at East Van Coffee Roasters) will be bubbly on the floor (and making sure the coffee schedule is tight). And finally, Tam Fuller (an excellent all-round local and human maker) will apply all sorts of elbow grease to transform the space into a new Main Street community center.
The crew just picked up the space keys yesterday. I met with them last night to look around and ask them a few questions about their plans for 2420 Main St. Here’s what they had to say…
First of all, what is the name of your new project? “No name yet. We’re a team of six very different people, and we’re all creative (and weird), so many names have been thrown around so far, but nothing has been decided. We can tell you that it will end with “by Wild Thing” or start with “Wild Thing presents”.
Concept: “This is a pirate bar. . . to joke. . . I think we’re joking. Obviously I’m kidding. We love Wild Thing, our neighbors and our block of Powell Street. We are very happy with what we have and are creating there. Here on Main Street, we’ve been given a bigger platform (and a bigger kitchen) to express ourselves. We come from the world of music, skateboarding, comics, art. We also come from everywhere: Nova Scotia, Semiahmoo, Vancouver; some of us have lived in Seattle or Australia for years. We want to relax a bit more and show more of our origin story. The things that shaped us.
Menu: “The menu will be similar to the Wild Thing vegetarian and vegan menu, but with the addition of some small amounts of seafood and meat options (but the majority of our focus will remain on vegetarian and vegan food). We aim to make food accessible and affordable with an emphasis on local and small-farm ingredients whenever possible. All non-vegetarian options will be local, organic and free range.
Crew: “Everyone who was involved in the development and shaping of Wild Thing Powell Street is part of this new project. So yes, same misfits, different address. Most of us have lived and worked in this neighborhood for most of our adult lives. I’m pretty comfortable saying that a lot of us had the ultimate goal of being able to do something here. To be among Hyde, Budgies, Superbabba, Kranky Cafe, Antisocial is honestly the best. What’s even more exciting is how much money we’ll all be spending on Dimension 8 and Pulp Fiction.
The bones at 2420 Main (Wallflower Restaurant since 2009, and before that, Aurora Bistro) are pretty darn cool. This team is well aware of this fact (hats off to Chef Jeff Van Geest, who transformed the space in 2003 into what will forever be one of the most impactful and beautiful restaurants of its time – Aurora Bistro ). The plans are to clean it up and restore the good stuff while updating and adding their personality to the room.
From co-owner Erin Rideout: “Where Wild Thing” is meant to be a bright, earthy, light escape from the city where you can sit down for a nice glass of wine and plant-based snacks. Our focus on Main Street will bring something new to the area for brunch, dinner and bar snacks. The main street spot will look much more like a fun and creative hangout spot. More for the eyes to watch. Ironically, this place might be “wilder” than Wild Thing. If we heard someone come in and say “that’s great,” “look at that, that’s awesome,” or “Wow, do they have that on the menu?!” we wouldn’t be crazy. We don’t want anyone to feel like they’re walking into someone else’s clubhouse or that the menu or venue has nothing to offer them. Our goal in coming together was to be as inclusive as possible. It is difficult to tick all the boxes, but we will continue to do our best.
This ambitious team aims to open the doors in six weeks. No structural changes are needed, and when I visited last night, co-owners Ezra Kish and Tam Fuller were already busy stripping drywall and inspecting floors – so they could just get to their goal.
Main Street can look forward to a new independent restaurant run by a team of pals who have lived and worked in this neighborhood for decades (by Kish’s estimate, they have a combined 100 years of experience in Mount Pleasant as owners company and residents with each other) at some point in September.
As co-owner Rayne Williams explains, “It’s a phenomenal feeling that Eric and Heather (owners of Wallflower) trust us to take over the space and ensure it continues to thrive and serve the community. “
Stay tuned for updates…in the meantime, take a look at the photo gallery below and follow Wild Thing on Instagram here.
Kudos to Ezra Kish, Erin Rideout, Todd Graham, Kody Abrams, Rayne Williams, and Tam Fuller (and special thanks to Erin Rideout for taking the time to provide thoughtful answers to my many questions).