Dining institution Bishop’s is closing in Vancouver — for good this time

One of Vancouver’s best-known fine dining establishments is closing its doors after more than three decades of serving meals inspired by local West Coast produce.

The kitchen at Bishop’s Restaurant on West 4th Ave. at Kitsilano has hosted many celebrity chefs over the years, including Iron Chef Rob Feenie and Vikram Vij.

The restaurant has withstood the uncertainty of COVID-19 for months, even announcing it would close in the spring of 2020, but owner John Bishop says a huge rent hike from a new landlord means this time , the restaurant is closing permanently.

“I finally made the very difficult decision to close,” he said. “It was not easy.”

Rent is being raised to $100 a square foot — a cost Bishop says he can’t afford, especially given the struggles of the pandemic.

Silverware from Bishop’s Restaurant will be auctioned on January 22, 2022. (Maggie MacPherson/CBC)

Bishop has spent the last few days tidying up the dining room and kitchen.

“It’s empty, but it never feels empty,” he told CBC host Gloria Macarenko. On the coast. “There’s always this kind of ghostly voices and stuff that lingers.”

The restaurant’s old cooking utensils are being donated to charity while the rest will be auctioned off on January 22.

Bishop says the highlight of the auction is a silver duck press made in the 1920s, from New York’s famed 21 Club.

“I bought it as an iconic silver piece to display, but we’ve used it over the years,” he said.

When he opened the restaurant in 1986, Bishop says the concept of serving local produce and changing the menu seasonally was new to diners.

“It was a trend that kept growing, and I supported and was very proud that it defined our menus with local, seasonal produce.”

The stakes are higher in the restaurant industry these days, according to Bishop. Supplies are more expensive and staff are scarce.

Nonetheless, he enjoyed running the restaurant and says exciting things are happening in the local food scene.

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