Name: Ivo Staiano
Organization/Business: Meet Restaurant
What do you do and how did you get here?
I have been in the restaurant industry for 25 years. I opened my first restaurant on Kits Beach when I was 23. About 5 years ago, I left the industry to work online, doing e-commerce with my own footwear company and seeing some success with that new venture. During that time, I realized that I much prefer interacting with my customers face to face rather than on a computer. I am a people person at heart. I missed restaurants and if I was to return, it needed to be something different. I started throwing around a few ideas with my partner Jay and we spent two years looking at opening a vegan/comfort food restaurant. Eventually we opened up MEET on Main and 27th and a year later, we wanted to open a second location in Gastown. When we found the space here within the beautiful courtyard at 12 Water Street, we knew it was a perfect fit for us.
If you had 15 minutes only, in Gastown, how would you spend it?
I love hanging out in Gastown and spend most of my time off down here. I like hanging out in a few of the restaurants with friends and my fiancé. I usually go to Birds and Beets, Tacofino, Nelson The Seagull and for unique things, I like Litchfield. I would go to at least one of my favourite places to get a quick bite or a coffee or buy something for myself.
What do you love about the neighbourhood?
Gastown is one of the true original neighbourhoods in Vancouver. It is steeped in heritage and culture. Every building has a story and every brick seems to resonate with something special. I love the fact that the neighbourhood and those that live in it, are proud to be here and they show that through their support of the local businesses. No matter what night or time of day you walk through here, there is an air of magic present that you can’t find anywhere else in the city.
What’s your most memorable moment or experience in Gastown?
It was when we signed our lease for the location at 12 Water Street. We were super excited to secure it and this was my first choice. We were lucky. I’ve been in Vancouver for 35 years and most of my time has been spent here in Gastown.
What’s your philosophy for a good life?
Creating space for work, for connecting with staff and customers and setting aside time for home life with kids and family. I am thrilled that we are doing something more than just feeding people and making them happy. We are creating something that we are passionate about and that the approach we take, has a positive impact on our staff’s lives and our customers. Helping people eat healthier and encouraging them to eat less meat, I believe, creates a good life for many and is wholesome for our planet. Trying to do this each day brings me great joy. There is nothing else I would rather be doing.