DeHart: Healthy eating attitude at new restaurants

Gratitude Café in Kelowna's Pandosy business district, features vegan foods, while Saj Common Kitchen let's you be the chef.

Chef Kristi Reich has relocated to the Okanagan from Calgary with her business, the Gratitude Café.

Located at 585 Osprey Ave. in Kelowna’s Pandosy business district (corner of Osprey and Tutt), this quaint, 22-seat, open kitchen café has everything vegan, raw and gluten free, except for a few select bottles of beer.

Gratitude Cafe

The cafe kitchen doesn’t use eggs, peanuts, sesame, rennet, meat or processed soy in its menu. The vegan cheeses are house-made from almonds, pecans and cashews. The water is reverse osmosis and there is no paperwork for customers.  You can learn their recipes by taking the cafe’s cooking class. Reich says they make enough food to sell out to prevent waste, so if they’re sold out, that is why. Gratitude Cafe also charges for paper containers (you can bring your own tupperware). Other aspects of the cafe: No entitled attitudes as people are served in the order they arrive, no Wi-Fi service , you can share a table with others, and the raw salsas on the menu are a secret family recipe. The Gratitude Café  is open Tuesday to Saturday, 11:30 a.m. to 7:30 p.m. Call 778-478-9090; to check out the menu.

Saj Common Kitchen

A new concept business, Saj Common Kitchen, has opened at 2720 Tutt St., owned and operated by Betty Cherkaoui. It’s right next to The Gratitude Café. This is a full-on commercial rental kitchen, called a culinary incubator in the chef world. The business was named in honour of Betty’s mom, Ihassan Rahall. Saj is the cooking apparatus that makes the real pita bread and Ihassan left Betty her original full-size Saj when she passed away. The company rents space to chefs, caterers, food artisans or anyone who has to prepare food in an approved commercial kitchen and does not have one. There is a 7×10 walk-in cooler and storage for dry food goods as well. Betty also gives Lebanese cuisine cooking classes in this space and she can accommodate small events and functions for up to about 20 people. She also offers personal Lebanese outside catering. Other chefs can use this space for cooking classes as well. Chef Motoko Mitchell presently runs her raw food cooking classes at Saj. Betty would like to see more of the traditional ethnic food prepared and cooking classes given out of this extraordinary 1,100 square foot space. Call 250-864-3491; online

Jonathan McMurray, his father Wyatt McMurray and their partner Mitch Olsen, are the new owners of the A&Ws in Capri Centre and Orchard Park Food Fair. All together, they now own 21 A&Ws across B. C. and the Yukon. Wyatt McMurray was the founder/owner of the business and the initial franchisee of all the restaurants. The trio now has A&Ws in Kamloops, Chase, Salmon Arm, Sicamous, Armstrong, Revelstoke, Golden, 100 Mile House, Smithers, Kitimat, Terrace, Williams Lake, Burns Lake, Whitehorse, Vancouver, three in Vernon and now two in Kelowna. Living in Vernon, the partners are very happy to be new franchisees in Kelowna and believe in being community supporters. They are extremely pleased with all the great A&W employees in the two Kelowna restaurants. He was a delight to talk to. Keep an eye out for Jonathan. He is known as the “big ginger guy” having red hair and lots of freckles.

Smoke’s Poutine (from Toronto) is driving a plaid food truck across Canada, hitting 17 cities in 17 days. With them are three world renowned food eating champions, who are putting on a poutine eating competition in each city with free poutine for two hours (11 a.m. to 1 p.m.) on Monday, Aug. 18, when they stop in Kelowna at Kerry Park. It should be quite a spectacle. Terry Goldsmith is the owner/operator of Smoke’s Poutinerie on Bernard Avenue, along with being the Kelowna spud pounding, curd ripp’n, gravy ladlin’ Poutinista.

The CRTC announced that it has approved the broadcasting licensing of Roundhouse Radio to operate a low power, specialty FM radio station in Vancouver on 98.3 FM. Roundhouse Radio’s key objective is to be actively involved in the city and to serve the needs of citizens who live, work and play in Vancouver. Their difference is to provide a spotlight on an active citizenry with more storytelling, discussion and context. They will help with community clean-ups, festivals, kids, talk about food from around the world, live music, arts, news and features focused on the city and its neighbourhoods. The Roundhouse Radio owners group consists of president and CEO Don Shafer (formerly with Standard Radio, Astral Media and Bell Media in Kelowna); Rick Pushor (local retired lawyer and founding partner of Pushor Mitchell LLP); Dave Daudrich (Kelowna businessman); Dean H. Taylor (CEO and president of Diamcor Mining Inc.); John Edward Robb Pushor (owner of Chaparral Industries); Alison Morna Kyte (works with Canadian Mental Health Association); Una Gable (founding partner of Touchstone Law Group LLP); Craig and Candace Cameron (CEO of National Hearing Services Inc.); Jim Pushor (co-owner of Chaparral Industries) and Leslie Pushor (registered respiratory therapist). Roundhouse Radio 98.3 is a privately owned company of British Columbians who aspire to create a world-class broadcasting platform on the air, online and on the street, focused on the city and people of Vancouver.

In recent years, local gal Cherie Hanson’s poetry has appeared in anthologies by Ripple Effect Press, and by Naropa University. “Laying It on The Line” is her third self-published anthology. Hanson was one of only six Canadian poets selected for the Sage Hill Poetry Experience. In 2012, she attended the Jack Kerouac School at Naropa University to earn credits towards her MFA in creative writing. She studies under Warren Tallman to earn an MA in Contemporary Poetry from UBC Vancouver. Laying it on the Line explores the chaotic environment of her childhood and the journey from violence to joy.  The book may be purchased online at or directly from Cherie at readings. Her website has 29,800 subscribers and she is about to start podcasting.

Harmony Homes, located at 201-833 Finns Rd., has some long-time unbelievable history in our area. Mick Webb and Ray Square started the company close to 40 years ago, and now Jason Webb (Mick’s Son) and Rick Square (Ray’s son) have purchased the company from their fathers on Jan. 1, 2013. Both Rick and Jason have worked for Harmony for some 25 years. The company’s head office is in Kelowna, with satellite offices in Victoria, Nelson and Grand Forks. Harmony is a custom home designer and builder, multi-family residential designer and builder and a mixed-use development/light commercial builder, building throughout southern B.C. Harmony has received more than  40 national, provincial and regional awards for excellence in new home construction. Call 250-765-5191;

Ken Salvail, of,  has partnered with the Okanagan Basin Water Board’s Make Water Work program for a second year, along with new partners Byland’s Nurseries and Pro-Source Irrigation (Sean and Linda Minaker). Together, these businesses are offering up a $5,000 prize to WaterWise someone’s yard just for taking the Make Water Work pledge at The program is a valley-wide initiative aimed at helping reduce residential outdoor water use in the Okanagan which accounts for the second largest use of water in the region (24 per cent). Make your pledge today.

Shoppers Drug Mart in Rutland in the Plaza 33 Mall will hold a 50/50 draw with only 200 tickets being sold at $20 each. If all tickets are sold, the 50/50 winner will receive $2,000 and the Kelowna Women’s Shelter will receive $2,000. Draw date is Oct. 1.Tickets are being sold at the store’s photo lab.

Don Folk Chevrolet will host the Uptown Rutland Classic Car Show  Saturday, Aug. 16, from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. at Lions Park on Gray Road behind Plaza 33. This is a free event. If you have a classic car and would like to participate, the cost is only $10, which buys you lunch and a chance to win some pretty cool prizes. Just show up with your classic car, truck or motorcycle for registration at 8:30 a.m. For more info call the Uptown Rutland Business Association  office at 250-451-9861.

Birthdays of the week: Happy 85th Art Klingspon (Aug. 18); happy 50th Dave Renner (Aug. 13); Travis Huva, my nephew (Aug. 11);  Warren Welters (Aug. 14); Herb Comben (Aug.16); Shelley Blais (Aug.18); Bernard Gauthier, Kozy Shack Pudding (Aug. 19); Ken Bernath (Aug. 20); Tena Kristalowich (Aug. 20); Cherie Hanson (Aug. 20).


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