Row Fourteen restaurant co-owner Kevin Klippenstein is feeling pretty good about his new Cawston venture less than six months into its first year of operation.
The farm-to-table eatery was listed as the number one restaurant in a top ten listing of Vancouver’s best places to eat in 2019 by Globe and Mail food critic Alexandra Gill on Saturday and Klippenstein says his phone and email messages have been piling up since.
“Pretty amazing, eh?” he said with a laugh today, Dec. 30. “To get that kind of recognition, as best restaurant, and we’re not even in Vancouver. We’re still in shock.”
Gill reviewed Row Fourteen earlier this year on a tour that included two other restaurant stops in the Okanagan Valley.
READ MORE: Buzz is growing over this Similkameen restaurant
“All three restaurants I reviewed this year, including the stately Home Block at Cedar Creek Estate Winery and Kelowna pioneering plant-based 'Frankie, We Salute You!' could have easily made this list. But because it is ostensibly a list celebrating the best new restaurants in Metro Vancouver, I made the tough call of singling out the one that left the most indelible impression. To put Row Fourteen in the top slot required no second thought. Of all the restaurant meals I consumed this year, this leisurely lunch burned brightest,” Gill wrote in Saturday’s Globe and Mail newspaper.
Row Fourteen, located at 725 Mackenzie Rd. in Cawston, is closed until March 13.
Kevin who manages the restaurant along with partner Annamarie and chef Derek Grey felt the winter season would be too slow for the restaurant, located in the Similkameen Valley an hour and a half from Kelowna and more than three hours from Vancouver.
“Maybe we should have been open. We’ve been getting tons of email inquiries and reservations coming in for April through August. I think it’s going to be a crazy 2020,” he says.
Klippenstein says Chef Derek hoped to have the restaurant make it into the En Route list of top 10 restaurants in Canada, but the restaurant had to have been open in April, which it wasn’t. En Route is Air Canada's inflight magazine.
“This accolade puts us on the map, giving the En Route list another opportunity for next year,” he says.
Klippenstein says January will be devoted to finding adequate staffing for the summer, something he feels will be more easily done now the restaurant has such a noted standing.
“We know a number of high quality servers in the Lower Mainland we wanted to hire but it was like pulling teeth last year getting people to come here because they wondered about business, how much they could make in tips. That shouldn’t be as much of an issue now,” he says.
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