About a year ago, Ryan Hurley, president of Hurley Development, started looking into the concept of a fusion restaurant that combined Spanish and Asian dishes. After searching for a partner that was a restaurant operator that could help him with such an endeavor, Hurley partnered with Bob Rasaphangthong – who also is an owner of Nom Nom Restaurant and Grill in downtown Vancouver – to create Saap Fusion Kitchen.
Saap Fusion, which will take over the restaurant building that previously housed Lapellah at 2520 Columbia House Blvd., Suite 108, in Vancouver, will offer a new restaurant concept with the combination of Spanish and Asian dishes.
The word ‘saap,’ Hurley said, actually means ‘tasty’ in several different languages, and he said the real power behind what they’re doing is the thoughtfulness around the food. The restaurant will offer strictly fusion food, which Hurley said is very unique Vancouver. He also said the majority of the menu is almost entirely gluten free. He said they were very thoughtful with including vegan/dairy-free alternatives, and the entire menu is designed that way “with the exception of maybe two items.”
“About a year ago, my interest sparked in creating a new restaurant concept with the combination of Spanish and (Asian) dishes,” Rasaphangthong said. “Originally, we planned on a spot in front of Union Station Costco (in Camas), but the opportunity for Lapellah popped up in the process and made it more desirable since it was already an existing restaurant build out.”
Rasaphangthong said the grand opening plans for the new restaurant are in early December, as long as everything goes to plan. He said they did a major renovation in the bar area of the new restaurant with guidance from their design team in order to give the space a more open feel.
“The heart and soul around the restaurant is unique in that it is really about the quality, the care and thoughtfulness of our food,” Hurley said. “People can’t agree on anything anymore, but we can for sure bring people together with food.”
“Talents Construction has been working around the clock to ensure deadlines are met and have been showing major progress over the weeks,” Rasaphangthong said. “When the pandemic first came about, it was very unexpected and unknown to (us) but we stayed positive and creative to stay afloat.”
Rasaphangthong described the restaurant’s menu as “designed to be both dine-in and take-out friendly and moderately priced with consideration for our customers.”
“Our approach at creating vegan-friendly and gluten-free options on most items will be inviting to those that have food limitations and add-ons and small side items are endless to build your entrée to suite,” he said. “There is no other place in town that offers what we have as we bring food, life and culture to what we do.”
Hurley said the menu has been thoughtfully designed around COVID to be smaller and more affordable, with the average menu price being somewhere around $15.
“We really had to think around the longevity of COVID, delivery, all of those things,” Hurley said. “We had the luxury of designing it with that circumstance going on. We’re, I think, the first restaurant opening mid/post-pandemic.”
Hurley also said they have been really thoughtful about the design of the new restaurant. The bar inside the old Lapellah space has been completely removed in order to create a much more open concept that Hurley said is more community centered and community minded. He also said there are a couple of unique specialties within the space, including the banquet room that they are calling the “constellation room,” as it features a concept of “floating stars” with a ton of lights and mirrors.
Hurley has owned a handful of Black Rock Coffee Bar locations in the past, which he said he recently just sold.
“This (the restaurant) was sort of a pivot to another expression of retail service that we (Hurley Development) enjoy as a company,” Hurley said.
Rasaphangthong said they have selected Chef Kyle Griffith and Bar Director Oula Thepsouvanh for the new location, and they are currently working on selecting the rest of the Saap Fusion team.