Saturday, May 18, 2024

Shine Cafe to close downtown location by end of April with oyster bar taking over


After over 11 years of service, the downtown location of Shine Café at the corner of Johnson and Blanshard Streets will be closing for good as of April 30th.

Once married, Barry and Lauren Thomson opened Shine Café, which began in its Fort Street location in 2004 and has always been a cornerstone of the Fernwood community’s brunch destinations. 

In 2012 they opened the Blanshard Street location, just 12 blocks away from their flagship location, to try and tap into the downtown core’s brunch scene. 

The duo behind the pair of brunch destinations recently divorced and Lauren solely took over operations of the two restaurants on her own. 

On March 31st, Lauren distributed a letter to the Blanshard Street location’s staff stating the closure, thanking them for all they’ve done for the business and answering questions they may have regarding shifts up until the close date. 

The two locations will consolidate under the same roof of the original Fort Street location following April 30th. All equipment as well as the Blanshard Street location’s lease will be sold to the Wandering Mollusk, a local business operating as a mobile oyster bar. 

Wandering Mollusk may sound familiar to Victorians, as they can usually be found slinging oysters to hungry patrons of Whistle Buoy Brewing.

“I have been considering consolidating Shine operations for many years,” Lauren wrote in a letter to her employees.

“My determination to ‘keep going’ through my divorce and COVID made large scale changes impossible. I am free to pursue my own choices again and this opportunity arose.” 

Lauren assured her staff that their shifts would be regular up until the close date of the 30th and anyone wishing for additional shifts may have the opportunity to help with cleaning and packing up the restaurant after April 30th. 

In addition to apologizing to her staff for the stress this closure will have on them, she also extended her profound thanks to her staff.

“I am forever grateful to all staff, regardless of their tenure at Shine, for the contributions they make every day,” Lauren wrote. 

“I appreciate your hard work, humour, understanding, inspiration and ideas, and the fantastic representation of Shine’s mission to offer great food and service.”

“Shine’s 11+ years downtown were successful because of you.”

(Sent to Victoria Buzz anonymously)

The Wandering Mollusk will be moving in to the space, but as of this publication, no opening date is certain. 

Victoria Buzz reached out to Shine Cafe’s owner for comment on the closure and has not received a response prior to publication. 

Curtis Blandy

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