Escobar pulls the plug

Escobar, a controversial Vancouver restaurant named for the infamous Colombian drug lord Pablo Escobar, has suddenly ceased operations.

Owners Ari Demosten and Alex Kyriazis have sold the business, and the doors were locked on Monday, June 10, confirms the now-shuttered restaurant’s Head Chef, Sarah Kashani. That same day, Kashani and staff were informed of the immediate closure.

Launched in April 2018, Escobar caused tension before even opening, thanks to the name chosen by Demosten and Kyriazis, and their subsequent denial in the media that the restaurant was meant at all to evoke the narcoterrorist.

The restaurant drew protesters both in person outside the Fraser Street location, as well as online in letters, emails, tweets, Yelp reviews, and the like. Demosten and Kyriazis deferred making public statements, leaving Kashani to serve as the face and voice of the restaurant and their concept, in addition to her duties overseeing and executing the menu.

The menu changed a few times during Escobar’s year-long run, ultimately zeroing in on Latin-inspired tapas and a high-concept cocktail bar. Staffing increasingly became an issue, and Demosten and Kyriazis eventually were dividing their attention between Escobar and their recently opened new venture, the seafood spot Harbour on Commercial Drive – and, some may speculate, creating distance between the prior project and the new one.

Escobar has not made any announcement to the public regarding the closure; their Instagram and Facebook accounts remain open and their website live for the time being.

Demosten and Kyriazis confirm they were presented with an offer for the business and they accepted, citing a desire to seek a new location in a busier area.

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