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

#Salmon ArmBusiness

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

 

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

FILE - In this April 19, 2021, file photo, Keidy Ventura, 17, receives her first dose of the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine in West New York, N.J. States across the country are dramatically scaling back their COVID-19 vaccine orders as interest in the shots wanes, putting the goal of herd immunity further out of reach. (AP Photo/Seth Wenig, File)
5 more deaths, 131 new cases of COVID-19 in Interior Health over the weekend

Those 18-years and older in high-transmission neighbourhoods can register for the vaccine

Rotary Club of Salmon Arm president Norm Brown talks about the work the city’s Rotary Clubs do for the community during a Rotary 75th Anniversary event at the Blackburn Park picnic shelter on Saturday, May 8, 2021. (Lachlan Labere-Salmon Arm Observer)
Salmon Arm Rotarians mark 75th anniversary

Flags placed around Blackburn Park picnic shelter for video shoot

RCMP (Phil McLachlan - Black Press Media)
High-risk takedown on Highway 1 following Anglemont shooting

Upon further investigation, the vehicle and its occupants were not associated with the shooting

Police watchdog find Salmon Arm RCMP have no involvement in head-on collision. (File photo)
Police watchdog finds Salmon Arm RCMP not involved in Highway 1 crash

Woman seriously injured on April 22 after head-on collision

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., Sunday, May 9, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
Homicide team IDs man in fatal YVR shooting as police grapple with spate of gang violence

Man, 20, charged in separate fatal shooting Burnaby over the weekend

Vancouver Canucks goaltender Thatcher Demko (35) makes a save on Winnipeg Jets’ Nate Thompson (11) during second period NHL action in Winnipeg, Monday, May 10, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Fred Greenslade
Vancouver Canucks see NHL playoff hopes dashed despite 3-1 win over Winnipeg

Montreal Canadiens earn final North Division post-season spot

The southern mountain caribou, an iconic species for the Splatsin First Nation, is threatened with extinction, much to the dismay of the First Nation. (Province of B.C. photo)
Okanagan First Nation band concerned over dwindling caribou herd

Southern mountain caribou at risk of extinction, much to dismay of Splatsin First Nation near Enderby

RCMP. (Phil McLachlan/Capital News)
UPDATE: Winfield road open following police, coroner investigation

Pelmewash Parkway closure near Highway 97 connection

Kelowna resident Sally Wallick helped rescue a kayaker in distress a week and a half ago. (Sally Wallick/Contributed)
VIDEO: Kelowna woman rescues capsized kayaker in Okanagan Lake

Sally Wallick is asking people to be prepared for the cold water and unpredictable winds

The B.C. legislature went from 85 seats to 87 before the 2017 election, causing a reorganization with curved rows and new desks squeezed in at the back. The next electoral boundary review could see another six seats added. (Black Press files)
B.C. election law could add six seats, remove rural protection

North, Kootenays could lose seats as cities gain more

The Independent Investigations Office of B.C. is investigating the shooting of an Indigenous woman in the Ucluelet First Nation community of Hitacu. (Black Press Media file photo)
B.C. First Nation wants ‘massive change’ after its 3rd police shooting in less than a year

Nuu-chah-nulth woman recovering from gunshot wounds in weekend incident near Ucluelet

Nurse Gurinder Rai, left, administers the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine to Maria Yule at a Fraser Health drive-thru vaccination site, in Coquitlam, B.C., on Wednesday, May 5, 2021. The site is open for vaccinations 11 hours per day to those who have pre-booked an appointment. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
COVID vaccine bookings to open for adults 40+, or 18+ in hotspots, across B.C.

Only people who have registered will get their alert to book

Most Read