Carny’s, Characters, Closed?


For the longest time, a somewhat mysterious and rather small sign simply saying “Carny’s Cook House” was featured in front of the brown paper covering the windows of 3132 West Broadway (@ Trutch).

Well, Carny’s opened its door some time late last fall. My wife went in to check it out and the shtick was that they were going to be selling fair food. Like mini doughnuts, hot dogs, burgers, corn dogs, etc. So, Carny’s Cook House as in Carnival Worker’s Cook House. An interesting concept and if done well potentially viable.

My first thought was that its success would largely depend on the decor. A cool and authentic carnival decor, coupled with those authentic fair foods might just work. Like Moderne Burger works as a fifty’s diner. A few weeks later I went to check it out for myself. I ordered a corn dog, only to discover that I don’t like corn dogs. The things I do for this blog.

The place still looked very bland when I went in, and no carnival paraphernalia to be seen anywhere. Rather disappointing I thought. In leaving, however, the very friendly chef told me to come check out the place after the holidays, as they were about to change the menu. From corn dogs and mini doughnuts to Indian food, souvlakis, and pastas. huh?!

Then, a couple of weeks ago, YatterMatters Larry, sends us an update that a ‘new’ restaurant opened on Broadway. The place is now called Characters and indeed specializes in Mediterranean and Indian cuisine, as well as North American breakfast and brunch. An odd combination if you ask me, but hey, it might work. Apparently it does somewhat on Davie, where the original Characters Taverna is located.

To add to all the confusion, Rob, who may have an excellent career ahead of him in forensic journalism, finds these two Craigslist ads:

In case the postings come down: in both listings you’re asked to call the same person at the same phone number. Put two and two together, and it looks like Characters Kitsilano, like Carny’s before it, is destined for a rather short life.

What a roller coaster ride.

Picture by Larry Yatkoswky

Last modified: January 25, 2009

7 Responses to " Carny’s, Characters, Closed? "

  1. raincoaster says:

    I’m going to show how old I am, but I remember when Characters was in Gastown (now Chill Winston) and before that, when it was near Granville Island.

    And yes, turnover is brutal.

  2. Bill Barilko says:

    I remember Characters in Gastown, long, long ago…..

  3. WyWyWa says:

    Cafe D’Lite was present and operating today. It is located two doors down the street from Characters. Still serving excellent Hainanese chicken. The Characters location was a shawarma restaurant for awhile.

  4. Erik V. says:

    Thanks WyWyWa. Must have gotten them mixed up. Updated the post.

  5. WyWyWa says:

    Sorry to be picky about details…

    3144 is Cafe D’Lite (still there)
    3142 is the Acadia Veterinary Clinic (still there)
    3134 used to be Love at First Bite Pizza (previously Spice)
    3132 used to be Carny’s (previously the Nemoto Cafe)
    3128 is the H&R Block (still there)

    It seems to me that the 3132 and 3134 locations (same building) were combined to form Characters. I am not sure which address they are using.

    PS It appears that the Purple Planet Pizza location across the street is also undergoing change. Not sure what is coming. (The previous owner of PPP now operates the Dollenkamp bakery at 2778 West Broadway.)

  6. guru says:

    need to update your blog you got it all wrong about characters

  7. Erik says:

    Well, Characters is obviously still open.

    However, that doesn’t take away from the fact that they were once Carny’s and that at some point there were a couple of ads on Craigslist that would suggest Characters was for sale. Let us know what parts exactly we got wrong and we’ll rectify.