Closure of Vancouver’s Oh Carolina Café & Grocer ‘not a doomsday situation,’ says owner

The space will be taken over by another Vancouver group, Kitchen Table Restaurants.

Oh Carolina

The space will be taken over by another Vancouver group, Kitchen Table Restaurants 

When a restaurant closes, it’s often a sad occasion. Rising costs of both food and rent, difficulties retaining staff and the prevalence of mobile apps are all factors that make it hard for eateries to survive these days.

So when Gooseneck Hospitality announced that it would be closing beloved Fraserhood café Oh Carolina, the news was met with many sombre reactions. But Gooseneck co-owner James Iranzad insists that this isn’t a sad ending

“There’s no doomsday situation here, we’re wrapping it up with nothing but good memories,” Iranzad says. “To have a really healthy culture, a good work/life balance, you sometimes have to make these choices. At the end of the day, we’re not retail store people, we’re not even really café people, we’re restaurant people.”  

Gooseneck currently operates five Metro Vancouver restaurants (two Bells and Whistles locations, two Bufala Pizzerias and a Lucky Taco), with a third Bufala and a second Lucky Taco coming to the River District in the spring. Iranzad insists that the closure was not revenue related and that Oh Carolina was profitable.  

We’re closing on our own terms, he says, noting that this decision is happening under very different circumstances than when a previous restaurant closed due to COVID-19 and never re-opened. When we had to close Wildebeest, that wasn’t a choice that I was actively making. It was imposed upon us. I’m grateful for the chance to make choices, and I’m happy with those choices.

While the closure of Oh Carolina—an old cornerstore and then briefly a café called Charles Grocery that the owners transformed to a welcoming enclave with a large patio that hosted many events—is a bit bittersweet for Iranzad, he’s happy that the spirit of the venture will live on through Vancouver-based Kitchen Table Restaurants, which acquired the space.

Kitchen Table, which is mostly known for Italian eateries like Ask For Luigi, Di Beppe and Pizzeria Farina, confirmed the acquisition, though it’s saving an official announcement about its plans for the space for next week. 

The feedback we’ve gotten from guests is super overwhelming, says Iranzad. It’s really beautiful to see the impact this little place made on people’s lives. I’m really glad it’s going to continue on in another incarnation.

Keep an eye on Kitchen Table’s Instagram for an announcement on what comes next for the southwest corner of Carolina and 12th.