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

The bodies of Carlo and Erick Fryer were discovered by a local couple walking on a remote forest road in Naramata on May 10. (Submitted)
Kamloops brothers identified as pair found dead near Penticton

The bodies of Carlo and Erick Fryer were discovered by a local couple walking

Jane Long-Haggerty, a chartered accountant with a member of the Salvation Army Food Bank, hold up a cheque for $740. Long-Haggerty decided to cut her fees in half and ask her clients to donate whatever they felt they could to the food bank. The idea landed her a room full of food and $740 to the Salvation Army Food Bank. (Submitted)
Penticton accounting firm gives big return to food bank

Long-Haggerty said this year’s tax season showed how bad the pandemic has impacted everyone

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

The manager and a worker at the Penticton Great Canadian Oil Exchange in front of the new sea-can. (Submitted)
Kelowna and Penticton oil recycling facilities get upgrades

The BC Used Oil Management Association provided grant funding for the upgrades

The SS Sicamous was decked out in poppies on Remembrance Day and lights at Christmas time. The Sicamous won’t be able to open again because of COVID restrictions. (Monique Tamminga - File photo)
The SS Sicamous was decked out in poppies on Remembrance Day and lights at Christmas time. The Sicamous won’t be able to open again because of COVID restrictions. (Monique Tamminga - File photo)
Penticton’s historic paddlewheeler likely won’t open for a second year

The SS Sicamous Society is getting lots of restoration work done during the closure

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

Municipal governments around B.C. have emergency authority to conduct meetings online, use mail voting and spend reserve funds on operation expenses. (Penticton Western News)
Online council meetings, mail-in voting option to be extended in B.C.

Proposed law makes municipal COVID-19 exceptions permanent

A nurse prepares a dose of the COVID-19 vaccine in Kelowna on Tuesday, March 16. (Phil McLachlan/Black Press)
British Columbians aged 20+ can book for vaccine Saturday, those 18+ on Sunday

‘We are also actively working to to incorporate the ages 12 to 17 into our immunization program’

The Maritime Kitchen Party is featured in the B-Side, the Vernon and District Performing Arts Centre’s online series, May 13-16. (VDPAC photo)
B-Side keeps Okanagan musicians in Focus

Performing Arts Centre online concerts continue

The AstraZeneca-Oxford University vaccine. (AP/Eranga Jayawardena)
2nd person in B.C. diagnosed with rare blood clotting after AstraZeneca vaccine

The man, in his 40s, is currently receiving care at a hospital in the Fraser Health region

The. B.C. Court of Appeal granted a retrial to former Vernon man William Schneider, convicted of second-degree murder in the 2016 death of Japanese exchange student Natsumi Kogawa. The trial is set to begin May 24, 2022. (Vancouver Police Department photo)
Retrial date set for former Okanagan man’s murder conviction

William Schneider’s trial, connected to the death of Natsumi Kogawa, is set for May 2022

Brian Peach rescues ducklings from a storm drain in Smithers May 12. (Lauren L’Orsa video screen shot)
VIDEO: Smithers neighbours rescue ducklings from storm drain

Momma and babies made it safely back to the creek that runs behind Turner Way

Signage for ICBC, the Insurance Corporation of British Columbia, is shown in Victoria, B.C., on February 6, 2018. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito
$150 refunds issued to eligible customers following ICBC’s switch to ‘enhanced care’

Savings amassed from the insurance policy change will lead to one-time rebates for close to 4 million customers

Police investigate a fatal 2011 shooting in a strip mall across from Central City Shopping Centre, which was deemed a gang hit. The Mayor’s Gang Task Force zeroed in on ways to reduce gang involvement and activity. (File photo)
COVID-19 could be a cause in public nature of B.C. gang violence: expert

Martin Bouchard says the pandemic has changed people’s routines and they aren’t getting out of their homes often, which could play a role in the brazen nature of shootings

Most Read