British Columbia

Vancouver restaurant in same building as kitchen linked to rat soup video reopens

Mamie Taylor's reopens for business, while the basement kitchen on its premises associated with the viral video of a rat found in chowder remains closed.

Basement kitchen in building remains closed

Ron Oliver, the owner of Mamie Taylor's restaurant and the kitchen where Crab Park Chowdery used to rent, says his business has been affected by a viral video allegedly showing a rat found in soup at the Crab Park Chowdery. (Mike Zimmer/CBC)

The restaurant in the same building as the kitchen associated with a video showing a diner allegedly discovering a rat in her soup has been given the green light to reopen by Vancouver Coastal Health.

The viral video, published Thursday, showed what appears to be a dead rat inside a bread bowl of soup at Crab Park Chowdery, a restaurant in Gastown.

Vancouver Coastal Health inspectors visited the cafe Friday morning to investigate, and allowed it to stay open. 

A video posted on Instagram Thursday appears to show a dead rat inside a breadbowl of soup at the Crab Park Chowdery in Vancouver's Gastown neighbourhood. (Instagram/pisun_ne_ne)

However, the commissary kitchen rented by Crab Park Chowdery, where staff prepared their food, was ordered shut down.

The East Georgia Street restaurant, Mamie Taylor's, located in the same building as that kitchen, was also ordered shut down.

Commissary kitchens are often used by smaller restaurants, food trucks and other mobile food businesses as a space to prepare and store food. 

On Saturday, Mamie Taylor's reopened for business.

Ron Oliver, who owns Mamie Taylor's and rents out the commissary kitchen, said while both are in the same building, his restaurant is completely separate from the commissary kitchen. 

"Our kitchen, you can see it in the dining room. It's wide open. Everybody can see," Oliver said.

"The commissary is in the basement and it is completely separate. It's not like we were sharing staff or sharing ingredients or sharing cooking space. Everything was separate."

He said there were a few issues about organization in the commissary kitchen, which he described as "a sort of pilot project that went on for two years."

Oliver said he has now severed ties with Crab Park Chowdery and the commissary kitchen will remain closed.

"Renting a space you kind of expect things to be kept one way," Oliver said. "I wish the former tenants all the best going forward."

Oliver says his restaurant has felt some backlash due to the association with the viral video.

"Yesterday was a very stressful day, " he said. "Getting our good name back out there will help alleviate some of the concerns that people seem to have."

Ashton Phillips, owner of the Crab Park Chowdery, says he's not going to get "dragged down into the mud" over a viral video allegedly showing a rat found in a bowl of soup at his restaurant. (Mike Zimmer/CBC)

Crab Park Chowdery owner Ashton Phillips said the incident was unfortunate for all parties involved and he said he's grateful to Oliver for his support.  

Since the restaurant no longer has use of a commissary kitchen, Phillips said he's received the go-ahead from Vancouver Coastal Health to use a mobile food cart kitchen in the meantime. 

"[We're] cooking all of the product out of the food cart fresh to order," Phillips said. 

He said a few other commissary kitchens in the city have reached out to offer him space.  Phillips said he'll get through New Year's Day before coming up with a new game plan. 

In the meantime, Phillips said his restaurant is still open for business. 

"We have great chowder. We have a great product. That's what we're here to do. Put smiles on people's faces and give them nice, full warm bellies and a happy place to be."

With files from Zahra Premji