“Pop-up Restaurant Incubator” Opens in Vancouver: Next up – An All-Meatball Pop-Up

Photo credit: Josh | Flickr

Photo credit: Josh | Flickr

Local foodies may have already noticed something interesting happening inside an aging brick building on Hasting Street in Vancouver, in the heart of the Downtown Eastside.

In early March, the nondescript venue at 337 E. Hastings St. – sandwiched between a Chinese restaurant and a corner store – hosted a pop-up fried chicken restaurant called Chicken Shack. The four-night pop-up sold out in days, with more than 600 meals served.

Then, later in the month, the popular food truck The Local Omnivore hosted its own pop-up for one-night only in the same space, offering diners their popular cheeseburgers with locally sourced beef and house sauce. An estimated 200 people jammed inside, turning a rundown corner of East Hastings Street near Main – if only briefly – into one of the hottest culinary spots in Vancouver.

It turns out that something bigger is going on.  

Crystal H. | Yelp

Crystal H. | Yelp

The building is the host of a project known as the 337 Series (named after the address on Hastings Street). Started by two local food entrepreneurs, the series aims to give food truck operators and aspiring restaurateurs a place to test out their restaurant concepts – in a sit-down venue with a full kitchen and dining room – for a few nights. Think of it as an incubator – not for promising new tech companies but for Vancouver’s next best restaurants.

The project is the brainchild of local restaurant founders Christina Cottell and Shoel Davidson, who run the Gringo taco bar in Gastown.  They leased the space at 337 E. Hastings St. with the idea of starting their own Texas-style barbecue joint. But they’re in the process of raising funds and the restaurant itself won’t be ready to open until the fall.

In the meantime, they had the inspiration to let the city’s food truck operators use the location to test drive their own restaurant ideas, without the risk of actually starting a bricks-and-mortar operation.

Photo credit: localomnivoreyrr | Instagram

Photo credit: localomnivoreyrr | Instagram

For Vancouver diners, all of this means one thing: Expect lots more creative pop-up restaurants – with decadent, food-truck inspired menus – to take over 337 E. Hastings St. in the months ahead.

Next up, according to a recent article in The Province: an all-meatball pop-up scheduled to set up shop from April 10-April 11.  Details haven’t been announced yet, but – if past events are any indication – tickets are sure to go fast. In addition, The Local Omnivore hopes to bring its signature cheeseburgers back to the space on a regular basis.

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