After rat-in-soup video controversy, Gastown's Crab Park Chowdery is calling it quits

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      Was it a prank? Or a legitimate video?

      Satisfactory proof of the true answer to those questions may continue to evade onlookers of a controversial video that depicted a dead rat being pulled out of a soup served at a Gastown eatery during the holiday season.

      However, one thing is now certain: the food establishment in question will be no more.

      On January 16, Crab Park Chowdery, which opened in 2017 at 221 Abbott Street, announced on social media that it will be shutting down its business on Sunday (January 20).

      Their message about their closure cited some of their positive memories, including making friends and helping out at community events in the Downtown Eastside.

      Although the message didn’t make any direct references to the infamous video or their financial position, but hinted at more to come.

      “Life is a funny journey, it has all sorts of ups and downs,” the message states. “We know that with our heads held high and a can do attitude the next chapter will be an even better one. We will see you all real soon.”

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      All the amazing memories of the last two years will be with us for a lifetime. The new friends we all made and community events we were able to partake in. Helping to provide hot meals to the individuals and groups in need of the DTES. Building a brand we all were and still are very proud to have created. Being able to provide jobs to an amazing group of humans who all became family and life long friends. It’s with heavy hearts that we regretfully inform all of our guests, friends and family members that this Sunday January 20th will be our last day in business. We truly can’t thank everyone enough for the love, support and well wishes we’ve received over the last two years and most recently over the last few weeks. Please come down and say hello in the next four days. We’d love to say our goodbyes or for some of you maybe a first hello. Life is a funny journey, it has all sorts of ups and downs. We know that with our heads held high and a can do attitude the next chapter will be an even better one. We will see you all real soon. You can truly accomplish anything with a little courage and support from your friends. ❤️ Sincerely, Team Chowdery 📸cred : @spoon_ubc

      A post shared by Chowdery Food Cart (@crabparkchowdery) on

      The video of a customer pulling a dead rat out of a soup at the restaurant had been posted on Instagram on December 27.

      Vancouver Coastal Health conducted investigations at both Crab Park Chowdery and Mamie Taylor’s, where Crab Park Chowdery made its soups in a commissary kitchen in the basement.

      After Vancouver Coastal Health found evidence of unsanitary conditions and a pest infestation at Mamie Taylor’s, that establishment was shut down while Crab Park Chowdery was allowed to remain open.

      After followup inspections, Mamie Taylor’s restaurant was allowed to reopen on December 29 (the restaurant used an open-plan kitchen on the main floor), but the commissary kitchen remained closed.

      Consequently, the two restaurants ended their business relationship.

      Although after the incident, the restaurant apologized to the customers, gave them a refund, and also gave them a $100 gift certificate, owner Ashton Phillips questioned whether the video was real or not in several interviews after he said he tried to recreate the cooking process with a dead rat in it.

      From the rat remaining floating in the cooking vat to size of the ladle and the circumference of the bowl, he argued that it was impossible to avoid seeing the rat and could not understand how it could have gotten into the soup without being noticed by staff.

      "Comment on recent alleged incident with rodent: Investigation concludes this incident did not happen," the restaurant stated in a social media post on January 1. "We’ve conducted a full investigation into the recently reported incident of a rodent allegedly making its way into our prepared food and have unequivocally concluded there is no way this incident could have happened in our kitchen or as a result of any actions by our staff prior to being prepared and served."

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      Comment on recent alleged incident with rodent: Investigation concludes this incident did not happen. We’ve conducted a full investigation into the recently reported incident of a rodent allegedly making its way into our prepared food and have unequivocally concluded there is no way this incident could have happened in our kitchen or as a result of any actions by our staff prior to being prepared and served. • We stand by our commitment to the highest food safety standards and procedures. • Everyone is invited down to tour our facility and see all of our food safety procedures. Vancouver / BC – January 1st 2019 After conducting an extensive investigation into all of our food handling procedures, we are 100% confident this rodent could not have come from our establishment. We stand by our commitment to excellence in food quality and service. Please note that in addition to our own in-depth investigation, at no point did Vancouver Coastal Health ever close us down and that point alone should speak volumes to our establishments operating standards. We Invite everyone down to tour our facilities to see for yourself If any questions remain we implore you to come down and see our operation first hand, the safety measures in place and to meet our staff. You will see for yourself just how much we all love what we do, our commitment to excellence and why we are so loved by the community.

      A post shared by Chowdery Food Cart (@crabparkchowdery) on

      Although the two women involved in the video declined or did not respond to some media interview requests, some news outlets reported them as having stated that the video was neither staged nor faked.

      A crowdfunding campaign had been launched on January 4 by chef Hunter Moyes, who is a friend of the restaurant. As of today, it has raised $2,365 from 35 people.

      However, on January 9, Crab Park Chowdery stated on social media that it was in “financial turmoil” in the wake of the negative fallout from the video and business was reported to have dropped by about 75 percent amid a time period that can be slow for restaurants due to factors such post-holiday budgets and New Year's resolutions. 

      The restaurant’s concise menu offered a selection of chowders and soup, as well as sandwiches.

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