Travel Blog

19 Jan

Reality show “Gastown Gamble” tells Save on Meats’ story

Restaurateur Mark Brand created quite the buzz this summer when he reopened butcher shop/diner Save on Meats. Tonight the hipster-exec takes it up a notch appearing in the premier of docu-drama Gastown Gamble on OWN Canada at 6:30 PST.

Gastown Gamble tells the tale (sure to become gritty urban lore) of Brand saving Save On Meats—Al DesLauriers’ historic Hastings meat emporium of 50+ years, which was slated to become just another Gastown condo.

In addition to saving the butcher shop/deli, Brand and his gang of family and friends band behind the giant flying pig, striving to revitalize the neighbourhood over the six-episode series. Find out more about the first episode which airs tonight below.

Save on Meats butcher shop. Image credit: Taraneh Ghajar Jerven

About Gastown Gamble Episode 1: “Welcome to the Neighbourhood”

In Episode 1 “Welcome to the Neighbourhood,” the usually savvy Mark Brand (also behind Boneta, The Diamond and Sea Monstr Sushi) is actually slightly daunted by the challenge of learning butchery from scratch and passing health code inspections.

Brand, plus wife Nico (former Aritzia exec) who runs the butcher shop, struggle get the four-storey building repaired and up to health code. $25,000 worth of butcher-shop-bound meat will go to waste if they don’t open in time.

Although media coverage of the show credits Brand with saving a neglected East Van neighbourhood, Brand’s appearances on Gastown Gamble are a more nuanced look at East Van community. The show highlights his interest building bridges  between Save on Meats’ older, lower-income clientele and the new crop of moneyed-cool kids drawn to the retro diner. Menu items like the take out window’s $1.50 break-fast sandwich are friendly to the economically-diverse patrons, whom we meet as the series develops.

Reviews call Gastown Gamble, “wry and amusing reality TV.” I look forward to hearing what you all think after Episode 1.

Catch the preview here.

Inside Save on Meats diner. Image credit: Taraneh Ghajar Jerven

Docu-drama Gastown Gamble on the challenges revitalizing the historic Save on Meats butcher shop/deli airs tonight at 6:00 pm PST on Oprah Winfrey Network Canada.

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