“Deborah-Gate” debate: Heirloom closure sparks controversy online

Back in January, Dished reported that Heirloom would be closing its doors. The restaurant continued to operate for a short time longer until it’s official last day on April 1. However, there’s a little more to the story than that.

When you check Heirloom’s website, it says, “Heirloom is now closed permanently. Thanks a lot, Deborah. You lil’ rascal!” Additionally, when you scroll down to the restaurant’s contact information, you’ll see it now lists “@Deborah.” The restaurant even went as far as selling Deborah Deborah Deborah t-shirts.

Now you might be wondering, who the heck is Deborah?

In late 2023, Heirloom added meat to its previously vegetarian-only menu online, which caused some uproar from the Vancouver community. Many people took to Heirloom’s Instagram and Facebook posts to share their distate for the new additions to the menu. It’s unclear exactly where Deborah came from, as Heirloom has since limited comments on its social media.

A Reddit thread posted to r/vancouver by sheds more light on the Deborah situation, with many people posting screenshots and quotes from Heirlooms reviews before they were taken down.

byu/sucrose_97 from discussion

Another Reddit user in the same thread posted screenshots from a now-deleted Instagram comment section. In it, someone left a comment criticizing Heirloom for adding meat to its menu and said, “Shame on you Heirloom! Not Impressed.”

Heirloom then responded in multiple comments calling the person an “asshole” and saying, “You can’t go online and say c*nty things and then act all betrayed when you are summarily dismissed.”

There were also screenshots of Heirloom calling people “cowardly frickle prick,” “douche,” “soy boy,” and the restaurant also told someone to “go hump your cat.”

byu/sucrose_97 from discussion

Additionally, @patricepembo posted a TikTok video of a sign on the door of Heirloom that said “Heirloom is Now Closed. Thanks Deborah! You Won!”

@patricepembo Spill the tea Deborah #deborah #heirloom #vancouver #vancouverbc #yvr #bc #britishcolumbia ♬ original sound – Patrice

Many people took to the comments of that video, claiming that they were #TeamDeborah or #TeamOwner.

“The Google reviews and the response from Heirloom is jarring,” said one user.

“Y’all claiming to be on Deborah side, now you don’t get heirloom so congrats. 🙄” said another.

Other comments included:

“After having gone down the Heirloom review rabbit hole, I’m sorta inclined to say #TeamOwner, it sounds like ‘loyal customers’ turned on them for offering dishes outside their dietary religion.”

“The way this played out deserves an Oscar! I hope the Heirloom people open something else. We need more of that energy in Vancouver!”

Another TikTok post of Heirloom’s closure by @perfume_n_cigarettesperfume also saw some interesting comments.

“Everyone go look up heirloom Vancouver on Google, click reviews, click sort by lowest.. and grab some popcorn,” said one person.

“I’m team heirloom. I read the reviews 😂 I love their philosophy of matching energy!” said another user.

“IM SO SAD I MISS HEIRLOOM ALREADY,” stated a third TikTok user.

Dished reported on some of the comments on Heirloom’s social media in February. One user commented on a post from Heirloom, stating, “Shame on you for always being ‘just vegetarian’ and now adding meat to your menu.”

Heirloom responded to that comment: “Your shame has missed the mark. We feel no shame, at least for the menu.”

“Isn’t it great that the world is big enough for everybody and all their ideas and opinions? I have a new puppy so I’m as happy as can be. Wish you well,” it added.

The restaurant also wrote that it’s a shame that a minority of the “compassionate vegan” crowd are so “mean-spirited and evil.”

With so many people invested in what Heirloom calls “Deborah-Gate,” it posted on Instagram that Heirloom will “consider an exclusive interview to any media outlet or individual willing to demonstrate journalistic integrity.”

In its closure announcement post on Instagram, Heirloom teased that customers should keep watching its social media with “exciting things coming around the corner.” So this might not be the end of Heirloom v. Deborah.

Are you invested in the Heirloom drama? Let us know in the comments.

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