There’s a unique new restaurant in the Similkameen valley that is attracting a growing list of positive reviews and with them, customers from all over B.C.
Row Fourteen Restaurant at Klippers opened in early August at 725 Mackenzie Road in Cawston, and the buzz has been growing weekly as food critics and foodies alike discover a new type of dining experience in the Okanagan-Similkameen.
The latest accolades came from a weekend article in the Globe and Mail newspaper by food critic Alexandra Gill.
Owners Kevin and Annamarie Klippenstein call their new venue a “true farm to table restaurant.”
“It’s different. Our menu isn’t fish and chips or burgers and fries, it’s a total harvest menu, so there are char-roasted carrots and beets. We’ve had people come in and say, ‘we don’t even like carrots and beets, how do you make these taste so good?’ Kevin says.
“Those are the kinds of comments we are getting. It’s definitely a different style restaurant, but it was something we felt was needed in the area,” he says.
Since opening in August, the restaurant has been the subject of several reviews from such publications as B.C. Living, Monte Cristo Magazine, and My Vancity.
“Most times they don’t even announce themselves. We don’t even know they’ve been in,” says Annamarie. “We get people who have heard about the restaurant and they just come in and then say, ‘oh, by the way, I’m with such and such, and then an article comes out.”
The Globe’s Gill came in on Thanksgiving Monday, at a time when Annamarie says they were understaffed and ‘not at our peak.’
“It was great to get such a positive review. We were super stoked to see her writeup,” she says. "We had people from Vancouver for dinner on Saturday who drove up after reading the review."
For the past 18 years, the Klippensteins have grown organic produce on their Cawston acreage, which has grown from five to 45 acres during that time, selling their organic produce to Lower Mainland restaurants on a weekly basis.
Annamarie says the couple has a passion for growing food, coupled with a 20-year history in the food-service business, so the restaurant was a natural progression from the farm operation for them.
For a number of years, they also hosted ‘long table dinners,’ where restaurants from the coast would come to the farm and put together a collaborative dinner that used the restaurant’s chef and food concept, using farm-grown ingredients.
“The long table dinners were popular. People started saying, 'Wouldn’t it be great if there was something permanent so we could just come by and have dinner or lunch whenever we were coming through?’" Kevin says. “Cawston is a small town, Keremeos isn't much bigger. There’s not a lot to draw on locally, but we get a lot of local support. Our take on food and our partner, Derek Grey’s approach is to do the food we grow justice. We don’t want to overdress it or make it seem like something else."
Grey is a partner as well as a chef in the venture.
Row Fourteen is on fall hours now, open Thursday to Sunday for lunch from noon to 3 p.m. and for dinner from 5 to 9 p.m.
Kevin says they’re off the beaten path and with nasty winter weather and poor driving conditions, they will close for winter on Dec. 15, but next year, who knows.
“Word is definitely getting out there. There’s a buzz happening,” Annamarie says.
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