Save On Meats gets the Oprah treatment on Gastown Gamble

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      If you’ve ever wondered what goes into opening a restaurant—or you’re a fan of reality television, especially shows that are based in Vancouver—you may want to check out Gastown Gamble, a new series premiering on OWN: Oprah Winfrey Network (Canada) on January 18 at 6:30 p.m.

      The TV show, which wrapped up filming last October, focuses on the revitalization of Save On Meats (43 West Hastings Street), a restaurant and butcher shop with a 55-year-old history. Restaurateur Mark Brand, who owns six other local businesses including Gastown restaurants Boneta and The Diamond, reopened Save On Meats with his wife and business partner, Nicole “Nico” Brand, in spring 2011.

      I had a chance to watch the first two episodes ahead of their air dates, and the show is entertaining. Mark is charismatic on camera, and the different personalities on his staff get equal amounts of air time, giving each half-hour episode lots of variety.

      The first episode captures the challenges of opening a restaurant, as the Brands rush to get the restaurant and butcher shop ready for the grand opening, but struggle to get the smoke alarms and emergency lights working during a building inspection. Meanwhile, Nico, who manages the butcher shop and deli, finds herself knee-deep in $25,000 worth of meat, but only eight hours to prep and slice it.

      In the second episode, titled “Ready, Set, Wow this is not what we expected”, Mark and his management staff count their losses as the butcher shop struggles to make a profit and hiring from the Downtown Eastside brings in problems of its own.

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      billy hopeless

      Jan 9, 2012 at 1:58pm

      bring back kims kitchen

      Mark Fornataro

      Jan 9, 2012 at 2:57pm

      Gastown Gamble are the words I felt were appropriate to buying fish for sushi at Save On Meats several years ago. After eating it I had food poisoning for a week and felt like dying. But I'm sure this restaurant won't be such a gamble!

      Pat Crowe

      Jan 9, 2012 at 2:57pm

      I always enjoyed having my car broken into ransacked and wrecked every time I went into The Only for fish and chips. In less than twenty minutes everytime.
      Didn't wanna go home anyways.

      Jan 9, 2012 at 3:50pm

      I'm surprised Oprah would promote a meat store after her lawsuit with the cattle industry and doing so much to promote a meatless diet on her talk show.

      Juli butler

      Jan 15, 2012 at 11:31pm

      I think this show sounds fantastic. What a concept a business that does great things for the community. Can't wait to see it!


      Apr 17, 2012 at 3:08pm

      Are you guy's still in need of volunteers in helping out with distributing food to downtown's east side?


      Apr 26, 2012 at 11:02am

      The point of opening Saveon Meats was to support a community that most people give up on. A lot of the local citizens have a bad reputation for drugs, which means business people are reluctant to get involved. This is bigger than eating meat (Which people have the right to do, whether or not it's something we ourselves choose). It's about supporting people- bringing diversity back into an area that is neglected- and bringing hope to people who have little to hope for.