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Owners of eclectic Enderby restaurant taking leap of faith

Owners of The Small Axe Roadhouse in Enderby, Carina Stokes (left) and Sarah Grace Dudley.
Owners of The Small Axe Roadhouse in Enderby, Carina Stokes (left) and Sarah Grace Dudley.
Image Credit: SUBMITTED/DOOMEDCreative

A funky small town diner in the North Okanagan is making a move into a much bigger location this spring with plans of offering more comedy and music events down the road.

“We’re nervous and excited,” Small Axe Roadhouse co-owner Sarah Grace Dudley said. “It’s a big investment. Everyone has the fear of financial ruin in the back of their minds. But we have an amazing supportive community and an incredible, dedicated staff behind us.”

Dudley announced the closure and move on social media weeks ago, but only decided last week to stay in Enderby and lease out the bigger location. She and her business partner are initiating a slow move to keep the current eatery open as much as possible, predicting a couple of weeks of shutdown in May.

“When we posted we could be leaving we got so much positive response from people wanting to help us stay,” she said. “We’ve built a community here.”

The new building is two stories high and the pair have lots of plans in the making.

“The new landlords are letting us take a wall down upstairs to make a big, inclusive space where we can host live music, bands, comics, stuff like that,” Dudley said. “We’re creating a custom bar with more seating.”

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Dudley said the diner has been hosting events but space has been a limiting factor. Part of the eclectic vibe includes hanging local art. The new building will allow for more of these kinds of opportunities.

“We put up so much art, I love the vibe of it,” she said. “I just talked to the art centre about doing a rotating local art wall where artists can showcase their work and sell it. Even friends from other places send their art. They can get a little attention and we pass on their information to interested customers.”

Good eats at The Small Axe Roadhouse in Enderby.
Good eats at The Small Axe Roadhouse in Enderby.
Image Credit: SUBMITTED/ DOOMEDCreative

Dudley recently took on business partner Carina Stokes and said the pair are excited to start fresh as a team in the new location.

“Carina is incredible, she is young, creative and insanely hard working,” she said. “There is no limit to what she can do.”

Dudley moved from Vancouver in 2019 and opened the restaurant to offer homestyle, American-style foods in a simple, friendly atmosphere.

“It isn’t wild,” she said. “I’m not reinventing the culinary world. We love our customers, know them by name and often sit down to chat with them.”

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She faced backlash in the past for hosting drag brunches and maintaining a safe place free of racism and bigotry will continue to be a cornerstone of the business.

For now the owners have a lot of work to do.

“It’s a big step but it is all decided and we feel ready for it, there are so many emotions." 

The Roadhouse is moving from 409 Cliff Avenue to new address is 707 George Street, in Enderby.

Go here to find out more about The Small Axe Roadhouse.

— This article was corrected at 3:30 p.m. Thursday, March 2, 2023, to provide the correct new address for the business. 

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