By Matthew Abrey
It was pretty much beyond repair. It probably hadn’t had a facelift since the early 1980s and the food wasn’t as good as it once was.
It seemed like Rutland’s Burger Baron, a once-iconic Kelowna eating institution, was resigned to its fate of fading into the history books.
That was, until Karrin Morris and Mounsef “Moose” Mounsef bought the formerly great Burger Baron in the fall of 2016, with the intention of restoring the classic burger joint to its former glory.
“A lot of work had to be done,” said Morris. “It was in a pretty rough state, and basically in disrepair.”
The pair spent many hours and dollars ripping out old and decaying appliances, wiping away decades of dirt and grime, and applying more than a few coats of paint.
All the work seems to be paying off.
“The public reaction has been phenomenal,” said Morris.
“We opened in February of last year, and people are just so happy, and they’re saying ‘oh my goodness, we’re so glad you didn’t shut this down,’ because in Kelowna, it’s been an icon for a long time. One family came in, and they just couldn’t wait to tell us that they were a fifth generation family coming here to the Burger Baron.”
Morris and Mounsef pride themselves on using quality ingredients, while keeping the prices notoriously low. The meat for the hamburger patties is purchased locally, and all the produce is bought from local farms and vendors. Burger Baron also makes its famous milkshakes with real fruit and real cream, which comes from Foothills Creamery.
And while all these aspects are important to the pair, the one thing that makes the business venture so meaningful to Morris and Mounsef is the history and stories that walk through the door every day.
“One gentleman who was probably in his seventies came in just the other day, and told us that his wife had worked at the Burger Baron when she was sixteen, and she’s in her sixties now,” said Morris.
“Another time, two older ladies were sitting back to back to each other at different booths, and one was telling me that she had worked at the Burger Baron in the sixties and seventies when she was younger, and the other lady turned around and said ‘hey I worked there during those years’. They instantly recognized each other, and it turns out that they were old friends who hadn’t seen each other in over 40 years, so it’s just surreal to hear all these stories.”
The Burger Baron has operated in the building near Rutland Road and Highway 33 since 1979.
“I love coming into work every day,” says Morris. “I would never have thought that in my semi-retirement, I would be flipping burgers and whipping up milkshakes, but I just love my job.”
Burger Baron is located at 140 Rutland Rd. N., and despite the small building, boasts a 50-seat diner and an increasingly busy drive-thru.
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