10 Businesses in Kits That Are Older Than 10


The Naam. Image: Ruth Hartnup

The Naam. Image: Ruth Hartnup

Guess what? Kitsilano.ca’s 10 year anniversary is coming up February 1. We’re doing a series of anniversary posts over the next few days to celebrate our history in the Kitsilano community. We started with a look at the Then and Now Kitsilano photo series . Our second anniversary post is “10 Businesses in Kits That Are Older Than 10.”

This post is dedicated to the other grizzled oldtimers in Kits who predate yoga pants (okay fine, Lululemon was founded in 1998), we meant predate Whole Foods (2007) and have made our borough a better place for over a decade.

10 Businesses in Kits That Are Older Than 10

The Naam (1968)

Back in the 1960s, when Kits was known as Rainbow Road and had real estate prices that appealed to counter culture youth, The Naam entered the picture. The Naam is the oldest vegetarian restaurant in Vancouver. Its appeal extends far beyond the veg crowd because it’s an lush oasis of sorts, and it’s open 24/7.  Many hungry folks have found comfort and sustenance there in the wee hours, however long it took the aging hippie to bring their order to the table.

Parthenon Supermarket (1967)

West Broadway has been home to Vancouver’s Greek community since the 1960s. Parthenon, which has been there for 45 years, is one of the surviving Greektown businesses. It’s our go-to for olives, olive oils direct from Crete, a hot sandwich and even pottery.

Jackson’s Meats (1911)

True, Jackson’s has come and gone, but it’s returned to the same storefront and it’s the oldest community business in Kitsilano. In fact, in this unsentimental frontier town, Jackson’s has a pretty cool story. Jackson’s is the oldest meat market in Vancouver. The Jackson family opened its original location in Kitsilano in 1911. After a brief hiatus in the 2000s, Christopher Jackson, the great grandson of the original founder of Jackson’s Meats, and family reopened in the same spot on West 4th Avenue in 2009.

Darby’s (1981)

Superior brews and good food have put this neighbourhood pub and liquor store at the top of Kitsilano residents’ go-to list. Friendly staff, a roof top patio and a constant stream of cask nights have kept it there. This is the kind of independent business you have faith will be there next time we make this list.

Sophie’s Cosmic Cafe (1988)

You know, we have never loved the food or the lines at this dayglo diner, but it has endured the test of time, and it’s a great place to spot visiting celebrities.

The Bimini (1974)

Now a part of the Donnelly fold, The Bimini was groud zero for Greenpeace activists back in the 1970s. More fun facts: it received the first neighbourhood-pub licence that was ever granted in B.C.

Bishop’s (1985)

In 1985, sourcing local, organic ingredients directly from a farmer was a radical idea. But that didn’t stop John Bishop, known as the godfather of Vancouver hospitality. When every other fine dining restaurant was mimicking Europe, he set the tone with expertly prepared local dishes. His signature menu items from the early days include Goat Cheese Salad, Dungeness Crab Cakes, Lamb Three Ways and Death by Chocolate.

Candy Aisle (1998)

A random, fun example of a mom and pop that continues to survive as West 4th transforms from small businesses to big box retail therapy for Urban Outfitters shoppers.

Las Margaritas (1981)

This incredibly popular California-style Mexican restaurant has been a fixture at the corner of West 4th and Maple for a few decades. Owner Dan Rodriguez has seen a few generations of kids mature from ordering nachos to tequila tasting age.

The King’s Head (1973)

This dark, beery hole near the beach opened 1973 and in 1993, the current owner, Rana Singh got a hold of it. Singh, who owns many properties in the Lower Mainland, once ran the Kings Head himself but wanted help. That’s where Wings came in. When it was clear Wings was not a fit and customers boycotted, Singh lost a lot of money extricating himself from the franchise contract. Instead of accepting other lease offers from the Donnelly Group and the Manchester, Singh chose Jimmy Darbyshire as his go-to guy to get the business back on his feet. We’re still not sure he’s going to manage.

Zulu Records (1981)

Zulu has a finger in many pies. So we turned to Wikipedia for help: “Zulu Records was started in 1981 by Grant McDonagh, who had been an employee of Quintessence Records. When Quintessence Records ceased operations as both an independent record store and independent record label, McDonagh continued operations in a similar fashion, as Zulu Records.[2]

Zulu frequently hosts free in-store performances which have included Julie Doiron, Billy Bragg, Dean Wareham, Kid Koala, Grouper, José González, Superchunk, Hawksley Workman, The War on Drugs,  Yo La Tengo and Frog Eyes among others.

Zulu Records has often been called the birthplace of the indie rock genre “Cuddlecore” as the term was coined by long term employee and local indie music hero Nicolas Bragg, best known for his work as a guitarist in the Vancouver rock group Destroyer. ” Read more: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Zulu_Records

 Have another business to add? Help out by commenting below.

Last modified: January 30, 2015

4 Responses to " 10 Businesses in Kits That Are Older Than 10 "

  1. Jess says:

    The Cove Pub (which used to be Jeremiah’s Pub, and was Jerry’s Cove before that…) opened in the late 70’s as well.

  2. Banyen Books has been around since 1970! Original location was across from The Naam, but it has moved around throughout Kits over the years. Current spot is about 12 years old and they now own the building, so it should be there for many years to come, hopefully.

  3. Bill Barilko says:

    Just next door @ the entrance to Granville Island the venerable Afghan Horsemen started life on 4th Ave in Kits in the early 70’s-from there they moved to W. Broadway for many years.

  4. vangrl says: