Goodbye Raincity Grill & C: Agents of Real Change
Whatever the circumstances, I was saddened by last week’s shuttering of long-running Raincity Grill and, not that long before, of C Restaurant, owned by Harry Kambolis. In the fickle world of dining there are any number of reasons as to why restaurants come and go. (And you can read plenty on line about Raincity, if you go looking.) But it’s still a loss when iconic rooms vanish.
For now, though, I think it’s important to put things into perspective, namely the immense contribution that Kambolis and his colleagues have made over the years, and the profound impact that these two restaurants in particular have had on Vancouver’s (and Canada’s) food scene.
When Kambolis launched C and announced it would serve only seafood, more than a few people thought he was nuts. In 1997 there were essentially two ingredients that drove the restaurant business in Vancouver: salmon and steak. But Kambolis—first with the late Soren Fakstorp, and then Robert Clark persevered—relenting only slightly by putting duck on the menu as their ‘meat du jour.’
“At least it’s water fowl,” Clark used to quip.
In those days, most Vancouver salmon was either planked or smoked; and seaweed was something you put on your garden. Moreover, ‘good’ dining was all too often directly proportionate to the size of the serving on your plate as opposed to its taste or interest factor. C steered us in a different direction.