Mark Brand confirms Save On Meats pop-up restaurant during temporary closure

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      After opening for a little over two years, Save On Meats (43 West Hastings Street) will close temporarily starting September 2. Owner Mark Brand, who owns several Gastown restaurants, announced over social media on August 26 that the restaurant would shut its doors due to circumstances out his control.

      “Anthem [Properties] bought the building and they’re taking the top three floors and remodelling it into office space, trying to put in agreeable tenants to social mandate, and figuring out what that looks like as a long-term land-hold versus development,” Brand clarifies to the Georgia Straight in a phone interview today (August 28). “Of course you get your hurdles. A lot of people don’t understand when coming into a heritage building what a nightmare it’s going to be.”

      According to the Brand, the Vancouver-based real estate development company will be making seismic upgrades to the top-three floors, ground floor, and sub-basement of the building. With it, comes the closure of both the Save On Meats butcher shop and diner.

      “My butcher shop will go down to about a third of its size, and behind it is the really exciting part where our brand-new community kitchen is being built,” Brand says. The expanded kitchen will house the restaurant’s meal program, which provides Atira Women’s Resource Society—a Downtown Eastside non-profit that works to end violence against women by providing housing, services, and educational programs—up to 650 meals per day; as well as the restaurant’s mentorship program, which provides small food-related  businesses a place to get on their feet.

      “We’ve now partnered with Vancouver Community College and the city, and we’re almost done the deal to do an incubator kitchen back there too,” Brand reveals. “This is a project I’ve been working on with the city for three years now. It’s a Vision-backed thing, a Greenest City initiative. It’s also jobs, jobs, jobs—that’s what we’re pushing it for.”

      Brand says that the project will go to city council for alternate funding in October; however, VCC has already pledged $500,000 towards the incubator kitchen for a five-year program.

      While Save On Meats is closed for renovations, the business will open as a pop-up restaurant at 1 West Cordova, which was the original location for Brand’s Boneta restaurant and currently houses No. 1 Noodle House, which he also owns.

      “No. 1 Noodle was an experiment. It was slated to actually finish at the beginning of September,” he says. “We’re going to make it the Save On test kitchen.”

      Brand says that at the test kitchen, diners will be invited to help develop a portion of the restaurant’s new menu. Customers can order signature menu items, such as the Save On Meats burger, and leave comments on how they think it could be improved.

      Save On Meats patrons will also be able to continue purchasing sandwich tokens , which provide hot breakfast sandwiches to those in need. Brand says that between 60 and 120 tokens are currently redeemed each day and that the sandwich window will continue to operate through the renovations.

      While Brand cannot confirm a reopening date for Save On Meats, he hopes that the restaurant and butcher shop will be back at its Hastings home by the end of the year.

      “Best case scenario, we could open before Christmas. I really, really want to have the butcher shop open for Christmas,” he says. “When we do reopen, we’ll be doing a massive block party.”

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      Alan Layton

      Aug 28, 2013 at 12:12pm

      I'm sure this story will attract a lot of naysayers but I admire Brand and I believe his attitude towards social responsibility is very real and sincere. He doesn't seem to be working this hard to just become wealthy and I hope he has the energy to carry through with his projects. Unfortunately the butcher shop will suffer the most, but it never seemed to be very crowded anyways. The people who live around there (young or low-income) don't tend to cook much.


      Aug 28, 2013 at 2:24pm

      Sounds great!
      It's great what Mark has done and is doing for our city, thank you.
      Hardest working man in chow biz!

      Rick in Richmond

      Aug 29, 2013 at 12:33pm

      Mark Brand opens restaurants, trains people in the DTES, and gives them jobs.

      The Pidgin picketers try to shut restaurants down, and throw waitresses out of work.

      What a choice.

      eh sioge

      Aug 29, 2013 at 2:04pm

      Mark Brand is nothing more than a new age self promoter that relies on everyone elses money to make himself a self appointed star of the DTES and eateries in the area.

      How many resturants get City money to renovate? Perhaps restranteurs throught the city should apply and rely on City funds to upgrade their kitchens and run their businesses.

      Hucksters and self promoters like Brand rely on the largesse of others to make themselves look good.

      If he is so successful why can't he finance his own renos and expansion plans without government support.
      Just askin'?

      How is this fair to all the businesses throught the DTES or elsewhere in the City that have to rely on their owners sweat equity, money and personal sacrifices to make it in a very expensive competitive environment with NO government subsidies.

      No quibbles about helping out others less fortunate.

      However don't beat your breast, play the neighbourhood do gooder, oppressed business person and profess to be altruistic on somone elses dime. That's hypocracy - A word Brand and his ilk don't even know the meaning of...

      Lets see if Brand can actually make it on his own, like so many, without City or government funding, if he can great great if not chalk him up as just another self important promoter who's time has come and gone when his 15 minutes are up.


      Aug 31, 2013 at 4:29pm

      I thought his wife financed everything?

      Lovely L.

      Sep 3, 2013 at 11:10am

      I really like this guy. He has good intentions and he means well. No agenda.


      Sep 12, 2013 at 8:13pm

      Brand needs the big L on his forehand.....just like 1993. Litter what?


      Sep 16, 2013 at 10:14am

      @eh sioge, thank you for putting a cherry on your trolling rant sundae by misspelling 'hypocrisy.' *slow clap*


      Sep 28, 2013 at 1:54pm

      The food is good but the service is TERRIBLE! Of the three staff behind the bar, only one can ring up a sale and she's busy chatting guys at the counter showing off her tatoos, while the cooks are all standing around waiting for her to give them the orders. Only go if you have LOTS of time.


      Nov 28, 2013 at 8:11pm

      I was a regular diner before the reno. 3 to 5 days a week. I shopped at the butcher store for all my meat. I tried the pop up 3 times and was disappointed. I am a regular at Lost and Found now. I am not sure what I will do at the reno. is over.