For Vancouver, A New Vintage

Convention center hopes to lure visitors, residents with new cafe and wine bar

  • by Brad Weissberg
  • Published: October 2, 2018

The interior of Lot185  Café + Wine Bar, the latest addition to the Vancouver Convention Centre. (Courtesy Centerplate)

European flair has come to Vancouver (British Columbia) Convention Centre, in the form of Lot185 Café + Wine Bar.

The new venue overlooks the waterfront Jack Poole Plaza and is open to the public.

"This new space will embrace the modern aesthetic of the convention center while offering a casual dining experience for both visitors and Vancouverites," said Craig Lehto, the center’s general manager.

Lot185 takes up two floors in a corner of the 466,500-square-foot convention center that used to house a café that had only “about 6 to 8 seats.” The new space has seating for 80 people in 2,425 square feet. HCMA Architecture + Design was the designer.

"We wanted to develop that corner and put more of our culinary efforts on display for the general public," Lehto said.

The improved coffee bar by day and wine bar by night features locally roasted coffee, fresh basked pastries made in-house, tapas-style small plates and a B.C.-forward wine and beer list, complemented by a selection of international wines.

The project was initiated two years ago. Construction began early this year, and the grand opening was Sept. 28. The project cost “hundreds of thousands of dollars,” Lehto said.

“We expanded the space substantially,” said Andrew Pollard, general manager and regional vice president for Centerplate, the venue's concessionaire. "We created a second level. So now the lower level is the cafe and the upper level is the wine bar and food preparation."

It's a no-hidden-kitchen concept, and the customers can see their food being made in front of them.

"All the cooking is done right there under your nose," Pollard said. "We've got some really cool equipment we are using up there, including wood-fire pizza ovens, a self-ventilated grill and a neat little panini machine, and all these things can operate without a hood so there's no nasty looking ventilation unit above the food prep area."

"We also got to sneak in another Chef's Table (the convention center's VIP room) where we can wine and dine VIPs who are coming to check out the center for future bookings," Lehto said.

Pollard said the center plays host to about 80 Chef’s Table experiences a year. "The Chef's Table room has glass windows and a great view of the plaza and Stanley Park," he said.

The menu was created by executive chef Mark Massicotte with assistance from executive pastry chef Maurizio Persichino.

"The menu is reflective of the best of British Columbia," Lehto said. "We are using a lot of local products. The wine and craft beer selections are also drawn from local flavor."

Lehto said the menu was inspired by Italian and Mediterranean influences.

Everything is prepared from scratch, he said. "We really want to show off our in-house bakery items, and there's a separate counter near the door, so customers can easily swing by and get the best baked goods in the city."

Lehto described the pricing as "moderate and competitive with the surrounding competition."

The new space joins the two kitchens already operational in the convention center, one in the east building and one in the west building. Also still operational is the Coal Harbour Cafe, which has been a mainstay in the convention center for 15 years.  The convention center opened in 1987.



  • by Brad Weissberg
  • Published: October 2, 2018