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Confidence remains - Hapa Izakaya Restaurant Group is Opening a 4th Location in Vancouver

Blog by Morgan DuVernet & Kelsie Struch | January 13th, 2011

As reported earlier this week in BIV Business Today a Kitsilano favorite Hapa Izakaya Restaurant Group is opening a 4th location at 200 Burrard Street (Burrard and Cordova).

Vancouver’s restaurant sector has been rattled by both the new harmonized sales tax (HST) and stiffer penalties for being caught driving with a 0.05% blood-alcohol reading.

Confident restaurateurs, however, are not shying away from planning new bistros. 

Business in Vancouver reported last week that Montreal-based Dunn’s Famous Montreal Smoked Meat plans to open its first location outside Quebec in Vancouver. The 150-seat restaurant will be at the corner of Robson and Seymour streets and is set to open in May (See “Dunn’s chain to hire 50 for Vancouver restaurant” – BIV Daily News, January 7.)

Now comes word another 150-seat restaurant is planned.

Hapa Izakaya Restaurant Group’s owners Lea Ault and Justin Ault are opening their fourth tapas-style Japanese restaurant. 

The husband-and-wife team are both fourth generation Japanese Canadians. 

Flouting the trend of restaurants going downscale to attract customers, the Aults expect their new Hapa Umi restaurant at 200 Burrard Street, in the former Metro Restaurant location, to be even more upscale than their three Hapa Izakaya-branded restaurants in the West End, Kitsilano and Yaletown.

Justin Ault told BIV he expects to spend about $500,000 to open the new restaurant.

Why the new location?

“It was there,” Ault said with a laugh.