Vancouver’s condo craze claims 2 iconic Kitsilano restaurants

Click to play video: 'Long-time Vancouver restaurants giving way to condos' Long-time Vancouver restaurants giving way to condos
Squire Barnes reports on two more long-time Vancouver businesses are giving way to skyrocketing land values and condo developments – Apr 26, 2018

They’re longtime fixtures at the corner of West Broadway and Larch Street in Vancouver’s Kitsilano neighbourhood.

One of them — Benny’s Cafe — is known for serving bagels, and for drawing a lunchtime rush of teens from Kitsilano Secondary School.

The other — Moderne Burger — is a 1950’s-style diner that serves up burgers, floats, milkshakes and more.

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Both are closing at the end of the month as Monument, a project of 22 luxury homes, moves in.

“I’m going to miss the wonderful times we had here,” Moderne Burger owner Peter Kokinis told Global News.

“The wonderful customer base which, I mean, anybody in business would be would be delighted to have.”

Benny’s co-owner Harj Chahl said customers used to go there with their parents when they were kids.

“They grew up and they used to come with their children, and they used to go to the high school,” he said.

“We would have a lunch rush from the high school every day, so those kids used to come here as part of their childhood.”

READ MORE: Vancouver residents look to stop city from building new bike path through Kitsilano Beach Park

Some longtime Benny’s customers hope to preserve little keepsakes of the old days.

One customer wrote to the owners and asked if he could buy the table where he met his wife.

Chahl poured cold water on the idea of selling anything.

“Probably right now, no,” he said.

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“We’re going to put it in storage, we’re going to reflect for six months and then we’re going to see what we’re going to do from there.”

Moderne Burger will relocate further east, but they haven’t announced precisely where.

The move is certain to change the neighbourhood. And not necessarily for the better, if you ask another business owner.

“It’s devastating for them as business owners, it’s devastating for customers, it’s devastating for the rest of us as businesses,” said Sabrina Faas of the Bayswater Tea Co.

“Because the more wonderful places there are on the street, the more likely people come and spend the day on Broadway or an afternoon.”

Moderne Burger’s last day is Sunday; Benny’s closes Monday.

  • Video report by Squire Barnes

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