One of the Vancouver’s first izakayas has shut down after almost a quarter of a century—but it’s not quite the end of the story.
Gyoza King, located in the West End at 1508 Robson Street, permanently shut its doors on October 30.
It first opened in 1993.
The casual and lively spot opened prior to the izakaya wave that swept across the city, which included the likes of Guu, Hapa Izakaya, and Kingyo.
While at one time, izakayas (which focus on Japanese tapas and snack-style eats to accompany alcoholic beverages and drinks) held sway over the culinary landscape of the area, it has since become heavily populated by ramen shops and a variety of Korean restaurants.
As the name of Gyoza King indicates, this spot specialized in the Japanese dumpling. The menu evolved over the years, eventually (in its latest incarnation) settling upon a selection of kobachi (appetizers or small dishes), deep-fried dishes (chicken karaage, takoyaki, okonomiyaki), salads, donburi, and a range of udon (ume katsuo, ontama, curry, tan tan, and more).
Gyoza King’s staffing situation was unabashedly broadcast to the public over the past year or so with a massive, door-long, help-wanted sign that exclaimed “Emergency! We need you”, asking people to apply within.
Now closed, the 24-year-old eatery now features a sign that thanks their patrons for support over the past decades and states that this is not the final act: “We’ll continue serving all of you in the near future at somewhere in town.”
In the meantime, patrons can visit their related enterprises in Richmond: G-Men Ramen Shop (1160–8391 Alexandra Road) or Gyo-o Japanese Restaurant (2137–779 Sexsmith Road).
The neighbouring Chicco Coffee and Dessert Bar (1504 Robson Street), which serves Japanese-style parfaits and baked goods and is also part of the Gyoza King Group, has also shut down.