Cactus Club wins bid to open at Vancouver’s new convention centre

Friday, July 2nd, 2010

High-profile 500-seat location to feature two patios with ‘spectacular views’

Mia Stainsby

Cactus Club president Richard Jaffray promises a ‘unique nemu.’

To Richard Jaffray, being a restaurateur is a lot like big-wave surfing.

And the avid surfer -who is president of Cactus Club Restaurants, with 20 restaurants in the chain -has just landed another big wave.

Jaffray has won a primo bid to open a restaurant in Vancouver’s new Convention Centre West complex, just west of the Olympic cauldron, in an existing stand-alone building.

“It’s definitely a stunning location,” Jaffray said. “There’ll be spectacular views from the two patios facing south and west. It’s a high-profile location for us and we’re very excited to have this.”

He was approached to compete for the lease on the building, which is 8,900 square feet on the ground level. There will be 300 seats inside and another 200 on the patios.

High-profile chef Rob Feenie will add it to the list of Cactus Club restaurants he oversees. The menu will be similar to others, but will be tweaked to serve the downtown, tourist and Convention Centre market.

“It will have a somewhat unique menu,” Jaffray said.

There are other commercial spaces that will be part of the development around the Convention Centre, he said. “Right now, there’s construction, but people will be able to walk all around the centre through to Gastown.”

Jaffray said it’s too early to talk about a budget, but he’s hired architect Mark Ostry to design interior and exterior elements.

“Right now, it’s about how to make the space work and make sure the energy works well and flows from both customer and employee perspectives. It’s gotta be comfortable. We’ll do the spatial planning then think about finishes and features.”

The building has a green roof and the whole complex is built to the highest level of sustainability, he said. “It’ll require some extra expertise.”

Jaffray said he’s confident about the aggressive expansion.

“I believe in Vancouver for the long term. The more I travel, the more I realize what a gem of a city we have. The world discovered that during the Olympics. I’m confident the economy, certainly for the city and for the province, too, is going to do well. This is a great city to do business in, even in challenging economic times.”

The Convention Centre restaurant is expected to open later this year. The chain’s 22nd location will open on English Bay beach next May.

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