“It’s the Kristin and Dean Kirkland crown jewel of Vancouver,” Dean Kirkland said.
El Gaucho CEO Chad Mackay knew he wanted to open a restaurant when Kirkland approached him before the building’s construction began. But he initially thought that another type of restaurant would fit in better.
But upon visiting The Waterfront Vancouver, when only three buildings were up, Mackay realized that the level of the development’s luxury was on par with El Gaucho, one of the more high-end restaurants in Portland, he said.
“The Waterfront Vancouver wasn’t just a developer selling a dream,” Mackay said. “It was actually being delivered.”
The steakhouse still has the signature dark lighting of its Portland location, but the view of the river is still visible out of tinted windows.
The restaurant is designed with business deals in mind, too. There are private rooms where guests can conduct business, and Mackay said the proximity to Portland International Airport makes it ideal for travelers with minimal traffic.
“About 40 percent of all our business in the Portland location is from the north side,” Mackay said, although he’s confident that there won’t be a loss of business for the Portland El Gaucho with the Vancouver location’s opening.
The new restaurant will employ 55 people, including 15 or 16 for the Witness Tree rooftop bar managed by El Gaucho.
Users take an elevator to Witness Tree, an indoor bar with a balcony and private room with a hidden entrance for guests who want to be under the radar. Custom ceiling design and lighting depict the Witness Tree that is tied to the Lewis and Clark story.
From there, visitors can take a set of stairs up to an outdoor rooftop bar that overlooks the river and even a few buildings in downtown Portland.
On the ground floor is the new 13 Coins restaurant, the fourth of a popular Seattle-based chain that has live music, a full bar, and a full breakfast.
In a separate retail spot, accessible from the street, will be 13 Coins’ first cafe, which will be the second coffee shop to join The Waterfront Vancouver.
The Kirklands are also opening a small liquor store called The Liquor Cabinet, with beer, wine and 50-percent alcohol near the hotel entrance that will serve the general public.
In July, Kirkland Development was given a $31.4 million loan from Bay Point Advisors LLC to finance the opening of the 138-room Hotel Indigo.
More than half of the units in the 40-unit condominium tower have been sold. The prices for available units range from $929,000 to $3,299,000.
“There’s nothing like it in Vancouver,” said Kristin Kirkland.