East Vancouver spot Our Town Café shutting down in Mount Pleasant

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      Update (May 4): The owner of the building and café informed the Georgia Straight that the café is closed during building renovations but will reopen it when renovations are completed. For more information, see this article

      Our Town Café is closing down its Mount Pleasant location in East Vancouver.

      The café is taking its last orders until around 11 p.m. today (May 3).

      Manager Dexter Holmes confirmed that the establishment is not opening again tomorrow. 

      “It’s been a little bit of a sad day for us,” Holmes told the Georgia Straight in a phone interview.

      Holmes has run the establishment located at 245 East Broadway at the corner of Broadway and Kingsway for more than two years.

      “We tried our best over the last years to be as much a part of the community as we could be,” Holmes said. “You know, we hosted events on a regular basis, and we had a lot of small, more, you know, family-based events and smaller community things that maybe could not have happened in other places in the city.”

      According to Holmes, he and other staff members learned that the café is closing down only a few days ago.

      Holmes said that he doesn’t know why the establishment is folding.

      “I don’t have the reasons, unfortunately,” he said.

      Our Town Café has about a dozen employees.

      Holmes said the café has been in Mount Pleasant for 14 years. 

      In addition to serving coffee, food, and spirits, Our Town Café has been hosting events like book club discussions and music nights.

      “We tried to be as friendly and as close as we could [to the community],” Holmes said. “Mount Pleasant is obviously a really special neighbourhood, and it’s been a real pleasure serving the people who have come in as often they have.”

      Another location of the café at 1398 Kingsway (at Knight Street) had previously closed on September 25.

      An outraged customer said that the closure of Our Town Café is a “sign of the times”.

      “It’s an example of the unintended consequences of that monstrosity going up across the street,” Tom Kahni Fowle told the Straight in a phone interview.

      Fowle was referring to the Independent, a 21-storey condo and townhouse development under construction on Kingsway, Broadway, and Main Street.

      “When you have hyper development like what the Independent that’s going across the street is doing, it’s inevitable that all of those small shops that made Main Street [worth] attending to in the first place are going to disappear,” Fowle said.

      According to Fowle, Mount Pleasant had always been a place where community-oriented businesses can get a foot in the door.

      “Our Town [Café] is a strong example of the value of that for a community,” he said.

      Fowle also cited the recent closure of Foundation, a vegetarian restaurant formerly at 2301 Main Street, as another example of the effects of new developments in Mount Pleasant.

      “So it’s not surprising, but it’s disappointing,” he said.