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What's up with 'temporarily closed' Winston café on Lonsdale?

The new North Vancouver eatery had generated rave reviews – then a termination of lease notice appeared on its door last month

Local foodies were chewing on a charcuterie board full of gossip when North Vancouver's Winston café appeared to shut down in January.

A notice dated Jan. 16-17 was posted to the outside window of the business, stating that the restaurant’s lease had been terminated due to unpaid rent.

That led to speculation on social media website Reddit, with some stating that the steep street is bad for foot traffic, and others noting that recent Google reviews had gone downhill.

Previously, Winston – which opened in March of 2020 at 228 Lonsdale Ave. – had garnered attention for its excellent espressos and food offerings. Last June, The Globe and Mail’s Alexandra Gill wrote a rare rave review of the café, focusing on its talented young chef, Douglas Lee. But Lee left the restaurant later in the year, moving on to nearby Windfall Cidery to craft the tasting menu there.

The termination notice stated that the tenant had failed to pay rent by Jan. 1 and owed $11,880 in arrears. Some Reddit users said it was a wonder that any business could stay afloat paying such high rent, and pointed out that it was “insane to kick them out after one late month or so.”

But the notice had been removed by the end of the month. While the restaurant still looks quiet, it’s not certain that Winston is moving out after all.

The North Shore News spoke to the landlord’s legal representative and legal counsel for Winston owner Andrew Boutilier. Neither would confirm if the business’s lease had been reinstated or not. The café itself did not respond to requests for comment.

Winston’s most recent post to Instagram was Jan. 13, promoting Dine Out Festival Vancouver. The restaurant didn’t participate in the event.

On Google, Winston’s status is listed as “Temporarily closed.” Reservations are unavailable on the website Tock.

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