The wave of izakayas that dominated the Japanese culinary scene in Vancouver during the 1990s and 2000s has since been supplanted by the current ramen craze.
However, a Japanese company has chosen Vancouver for its first overseas venture, which will be an izakaya. And by coincidence, the name of the company is very Canadian.
Japan's Beaver Group is based in Osaka, which has developed a reputation as one of the country's notable food cities.
While the company runs several restaurants and izakayas, their portfolio also covers a wide array of entertainment and lifestyle businesses, including spas, public bathhouses, and relaxation salons; karaoke bars; gyms and hot yoga studios; internet cafés; cellphone and audio-visual rentals; amusement centres; restaurants and izakayas; and more.
As the Georgia Straight previously mentioned in March, they are now preparing to open Izakaya Gon's at 854 Denman Street (the former location of Yuzu Shokutei) in the West End.
In a chat with the Georgia Straight at a nearby coffeeshop, local coordinator Minoru Takashiba told the Georgia Straight that they're aiming for a May opening.
Takashiba said that the menu is still under development but it will cover traditional Japanese food, including salads, entrées, sharable plates, and desserts. Meanwhile, the beverage menu will offer everything from wine and vodka to an essential: sake.
He added that chefs will be brought from Japan and that everything from service to food will be measured according to Japanese standards. At the same time, however, he pointed out that they are also interested in learning about and adapting to Vancouver tastes.
The company is expecting to spend about $200,000 to renovate the 45-seat venue, which will include working with a Japanese designer and importing materials from Japan.
This first international spot will be followed by other forays by the company into other foreign markets, including a restaurant planned for Bali, Indonesia, to open later this year.
More details about Izakaya Gon's will be available closer to the opening date, which is still to be finalized.More