Brown Derby Restaurant owners Carolyn Russell and Neil Todd are ready to retire and will be closing their popular Armstrong restaurant for good on Dec. 31. (Morning Star - file photo)

Brown Derby Restaurant owners Carolyn Russell and Neil Todd are ready to retire and will be closing their popular Armstrong restaurant for good on Dec. 31. (Morning Star - file photo)

North Okanagan’s Brown Derby Cafe hanging up hat

Popular breakfast/lunch eatery set to close as owners Neil Todd and Carolyn Russell ready to retire

It’s a handwritten sandwich board that rests along the fence of the popular Armstrong eatery on Pleasant Valley Road.

And the message on the board is pretty clear:

“WORLD’S BEST FOOD.”

Patrons from Armstrong, Enderby, Vernon, the North Okanagan and beyond would hardly disagree.

The Brown Derby Cafe – known for its legendary $2.99 breakfasts – will stop serving the ‘world’s best’ breakfast and lunch foods and the ‘oh-my-goodness’ desserts on Dec. 31.

The Derby is closing its doors forever as the owners are set to retire.

“It’s time,” said Neil Todd, who runs the restaurant with wife Carolyn Russell.

“The pandemic, the heat dome, the supply chain, it’s a bunch of things. We’re old and running the business isn’t fun anymore.”

Todd and Russell came to the North Okanagan in 1998 as Todd had family nearby, and the pair wanted to run a small restaurant, something they couldn’t do in the Lower Mainland.

They found a small facility near the Armstrong branch of the Royal Canadian Legion and were there for three years before moving to their current location in 2001 – the restaurant that looks like a house – right on Armstrong’s main drag between the Bargain Bin and the Armstrong Spallumcheen Museum and Art Gallery.

The Brown Derby Cafe has hosted many events over its nearly 25-year history, and Todd and Russell have been huge community boosters. They’ve hosted high afternoon teas and participated in events like Armstrong’s Best Grilled Cheese Sandwich.

“We’re staying around, but we have a lot of great memories,” said Todd, who has hired “tons of kids” over the years to work with Carolyn and him at the restaurant.

For the final week of operation, Dec. 27-31, it will be breakfast only at the Brown Derby Cafe.

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roger@vernonmorningstar.com

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After nearly 25 years in operation, Armstrong’s Brown Derby Restaurant is closing forever as of Dec. 31 as the owners retire. (Jenna Churchill Photo)

After nearly 25 years in operation, Armstrong’s Brown Derby Restaurant is closing forever as of Dec. 31 as the owners retire. (Jenna Churchill Photo)