Chiang Mai Orchid Restaurant owner Nipa Chaiboonye is excited to transform the previously unused space outside the downtown Salmon Arm business into a patio dining area where she plans to be grilling up Thai street food. (Lachlan Labere-Salmon Arm Observer)

Chiang Mai Orchid Restaurant owner Nipa Chaiboonye is excited to transform the previously unused space outside the downtown Salmon Arm business into a patio dining area where she plans to be grilling up Thai street food. (Lachlan Labere-Salmon Arm Observer)

Patio pivot offers some reprieve amid restrictions for Salmon Arm restaurateurs

Owner points to impossibility of running a business, raising a family with such a limited income

Tucked away next to Nipa Chaiboonye’s downtown Salmon Arm restaurant is an opportunity to make lemonade from the lemons dealt from ongoing pandemic restrictions.

“I’ve had this space here forever, it’s licensed… I never thought to open it. But people love to sit outside – it’s going to be nice,” said the enthusiastic Chiang Mai Orchid Restaurant owner Friday, April 16, of her patio pivot amidst provincial health orders announced on March 29, preventing indoor dining but permitting patio dining over a three-week period.

On Monday, April 19, the same day B.C. restaurateurs anticipate the province will be announcing an extension to the pause on in-door dining – possibly until the May long weekend – Chaiboonye plans to be at her outdoor grill serving up street food.

“It’s going to be a fun summer, just like street food in Thailand, that’s what we’ll do,” said Chaiboonye.

Stu and Kathy Bradford at the Barley Station Brew Pub have also been able to patio pivot, having submitted a successful application to the province to add additional outdoor space near their existing patio. Stu said the process was easy and quick, and it allowed them to make up for much of the indoor seating. The catch, however, is the weather.

“As long as the weather cooperates, we’ll be able to make it,” said Stu, adding customer takeout has also helped a lot.

Read more: New COVID-19 rules prompt Salmon Arm restaurateurs to push for early patio season

Read more:Salmon Arm council changes opening date for patios to help restaurants

It’s lunch hour and there are four people making use of Michael Vu’s patio at Hanoi 36. Under normal conditions the empty tables in his restaurant would be filled with diners. He is not looking forward to seeing those tables remain empty in the coming weeks.

“We were holding our breath until this Monday, hoping they would lift the restrictions, but from other sources we found out they’re extending them until the end of May, which makes it very difficult for us…,” said Vu, explaining that while the patio seating and takeout service helps, it doesn’t make up for the loss of indoor diners. “It was a pretty tough winter, and these are the months we hoped it would pick up so it would average out over the entire year. But, you know, with the restrictions, it’s hard to stay afloat.”

Vu said the restrictions also make it difficult to keep staff working– something he’s endeavouring to do nonetheless.

“We’re a small town and everybody wants to support us, but it’s kind of hard to with limited seating. It’s more than an inconvenience.”

Prior to the March 29 order, Adam and Jenna Meikle had envisioned a patio in front of their new downtown addition, The Night Cafe. Now open, the patio offers their only seating.

“We’re already reduced to half capacity, now we’re reduced to outdoor dining… We have eight chairs outside, so we can serve eight people at a time. With a little simple math, you can’t raise a family, run a business on this kind of funds,” said Adam, frustrated and concerned that another two or three weeks of restrictions will be followed by more of the same.

“I realize that it’s a virus, and we’re trying to mitigate, but it’s now doing more harm than good and the solution is not lockdowns.”

Adding to the frustration for Adam has been the unpredictability of the pandemic and related provincial health orders.

“There’s always light at the end of the tunnel, but the thing with all of the restrictions is there’s no goal post, they didn’t give us anything to base anything off of,” said Adam. “It’s so unpredictable. Do we hire staff? Do we bring back more laid off staff? Is it going to be a busy summer? Are we allowed to travel? Are there going to be any functions? How do we plan for anything?”

Bistro 1460 owner, Chef Darren Bezanson, expected the province would extend its pause on indoor dining until Mother’s Day – typically a popular day for dining out.

“You have Mother’s Day, New Year’s Eve, those are your biggest days,” said Bezanson. “Unfortunately, we’re going to miss out on that, so we either have to come up with a plan to make some adjustments, some takeout maybe. It’s one of those ones that sting a bit, but I understand why they’re doing it.”

Bezanson opened the restaurant, located at the Hilltop Inn, a little under a year ago, amidst the COVID-19 pandemic. Despite the timing, and in addition to the challenge of being a new restaurant having to make a name for itself, Bistro 1460 had been doing just that. The loss of indoor dining, however, has affected momentum, and left Bezanson with a feeling restaurants are being singled out.

“You’ve shut us down, we’re not allowed to have indoor dining, but the case numbers are still going up… you kind of take it a little bit personal when you’re finally seeing a bit of recovery and then boom… and you look around at all these other businesses that are still open.”

Bistro 1460, currently open for dinner, does offer a furnished patio where Bezanson continues to offer a farm-to-table dining experience. The restaurant is also offering take-out.

“We’re still fairly new in the area and some people are like, ‘We didn’t know you exist…’ We still have a very loyal and very great clientele,” said Bezanson. “The people who are supporting us are doing everything they can, even though everyone has limited resources right now, and we very much appreciate everything.”


lachlan@saobserver.net
Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

General

BusinessSalmon Arm

 

Chef Darren Bezanson of Bistro 1460, located at Salmon Arm’s Hilltop Inn, continues to offer his farm-to-table menu to customers both via take-out and at the restaurant’s furnished patio. (Lachlan Labere-Salmon Arm Observer)

Chef Darren Bezanson of Bistro 1460, located at Salmon Arm’s Hilltop Inn, continues to offer his farm-to-table menu to customers both via take-out and at the restaurant’s furnished patio. (Lachlan Labere-Salmon Arm Observer)

Brent Thompson and Jordan Goebel enjoy coffee and crepes for lunch at The Night Cafe’s new sidewalk patio in downtown Salmon Arm on Friday, April 16, 2021. With indoor dining on hold as part of a March 29 provincial health order, Thompson and Goebel said they’d been patio hopping over the past couple of days, taking in the city’s varied dining options. (Lachlan Labere-Salmon Arm Observer)

Brent Thompson and Jordan Goebel enjoy coffee and crepes for lunch at The Night Cafe’s new sidewalk patio in downtown Salmon Arm on Friday, April 16, 2021. With indoor dining on hold as part of a March 29 provincial health order, Thompson and Goebel said they’d been patio hopping over the past couple of days, taking in the city’s varied dining options. (Lachlan Labere-Salmon Arm Observer)

Just Posted

(Pixabay photo)
Morning Start: Scotland’s national animal is the unicorn

Your morning start for Friday, May 14, 2021

Phil Hotzon gets surprised with a brand new e-bike after family and friends raise money to replace his broken one (Amandalina Letterio/Capital News).
Friends and family rally to replace Kelowna man’s broken electric tricycle

After crashing his e-bike into Mill Creek, loved ones raised fundraised and replaced it

Young Federico “Fred” Lenzi. (Raymond Lenzi/Contributed)
Italian moved to Okanagan with hope; he ended up being sent to a WWII internment camp

Raymond Lenzi shares his grandfather’s story ahead of Canada’s planned formal apology to Italian-Canadians

City of West Kelowna. (Phil McLachlan/Black Press Media file)
City of West Kelowna sued over developer fees

Ironclad Developments alleges they didn’t get a chance to provide feedback on the fees

Doses of the Pfizer coronavirus vaccine are seen being prepared on Wednesday, May 12, 2021, in Decatur, Ga. Hundreds of children, ages 12 to 15, received the Pfizer vaccine at the DeKalb Pediatric Center, just days after it was approved for use within their age group. (AP Photo/Ron Harris)
One death, 60 new cases of COVID-19 in Interior Health

The death is connected to the outbreak at Spring Valley long-term care in Kelowna

Prince Rupert was one of the first B.C. communities targeted for mass vaccination after a steep rise in infections. Grey area marks community-wide vaccine distribution. (B.C. Centre for Disease Control)
B.C. tracks big drop in COVID-19 infections after vaccination

Prince Rupert, Indigenous communities show improvement

The Greater Victoria School District continues to face backlash over its wording and approach to Indigenous learners in its 2021-2022 budget talks. (Black Press Media file photo)
School district’s approach to Indigenous learners leaves Victoria teachers ‘disgusted’

Backlash grows over ‘pattern of colonial thinking permeating the leadership’

KCR Migrant Support Worker, Javier, had an exciting day escorting his son Ian with him during ‘Take your Child to Work Day’!
KCR: Volunteering is being part of a whole

KCR Community Resources shares stories of its volunteers in a weekly column

Joyce and John Henderson were among 25 British Columbians named 2021 BC Achievement Community Award winners by the BC Achievement Foundation. (Martha Wickett-Salmon Arm Observer)
Salmon Arm couple recognized for their decades of contributions to community

Joyce and John Henderson receive provincial achievement award

Then-minister Rich Coleman, escorted by Victoria Police, makes his way to the east wing amid a protest blocking the legislature entrances before the throne speech in Victoria, B.C., Tuesday, Feb. 11, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito
B.C. money laundering inquiry testimony ends today with reappearance of Rich Coleman

Responsible for the gaming file off and on from 2001 to 2013, Coleman been recalled after his initial testimony to the Cullen Commission last month

Colin Dowler rests in hospital recuperating from wounds suffered from a grizzly bear attack north of Campbell River. He was able to end the struggle by stabbing the bear in the neck with a knife like the one he is holding. Photo submitted
‘Bad-ass dude that took on a grizzly bear’ doesn’t let 2019 B.C. attack bring him down

Campbell River’s Colin Dowler gets on with his life as his rehabilitation continues

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

A bullet hole is seen in the windshield of an RCMP vehicle approximately 4 km from Vancouver International Airport after a one person was killed during a shooting outside the international departures terminal at the airport in Richmond, B.C. on Sunday, May 9, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
Meeting police chance to get sense of ‘frustrating’ gang violence situation: minister

Mike Farnworth met with police representatives Thursday following a recent spate of shootings

Arrowsmith Search and Rescue manager Ken Neden, as he goes over the events of the Qualicum Falls river rescue on Dec. 12, 2020, for a United Kingdom television program “Unbelievable Moments Caught on Camera’. (Mandy Moraes photo)
TV show spreading news of daring B.C. river rescue across the world

Arrowsmith SAR trio share their accounts for ‘Unbelievable Moments Caught on Camera’

Most Read