VERNON - Kristina Sidorczuk’s is just one of many new faces you’ll see around town if you’re sampling the city’s new restaurants.
The 22-year-old is the proud owner of one of the newest establishments in Vernon’s growing restaurant scene, EATology. The restaurant, located at the Greyhound Station in downtown Vernon across from Cenotaph Park, opened April 13 to a hungry crowd.
“I was so nervous opening day, but it went really well,” Sidorczuk says. “Our first lunch, every table was full.”
She’s come a long way from peeling potatoes and helping her grandmother make perogies at her parents’ restaurant in Oliver as a child, she says with a laugh. Still, EATology’s menu offers a nod to her Ukrainian roots with weekly specials of cabbage rolls, borscht, and perogies. The rest of the menu is made up of comfort food she often cooks for herself, things like avocado and whipped feta on toasted ciabatta.
“The food is fun, outside the box, and delicious,” she says. “A lot is inspired by other recipes that have my own twist on it.”
Hers are just some of the new tastes on supply in Vernon. The number of new restaurants opening in Vernon is climbing slowly but surely, with 2014 boasting the highest number of new business licenses issued for restaurants in the last decade. Ten restaurants, such as the Naked Pig BBQ and Smoke House, opened in 2014, up from a mere two in 2005. EATology, along with Japanese restaurant Kawakubo, opened at the outset of 2015, marking a healthy start to the year.
City of Vernon economic development manager Kevin Poole says it’s great that new restaurants are opening their doors in Vernon, and adds many are backfilling old locations that had been empty for some time, such as Wings replacing East Side Mario’s and EATology taking over Markontis.
“In my opinion, I would suggest that there is a strong correlation between the strength in the accommodation sector and the new restaurant activity,” Poole says.
Vernon experienced a 22 per cent increase in hotel tax revenue reaching $535,746 in 2014, Poole says. That equates to room revenue of $26.8-million being generated in Vernon, up $4.8-million over 2013.
“With more people coming to town there are going to be additional opportunities to provide services, be it attractions, retail shopping and of course restaurants,” Poole says. “(It’s) good to see.”
But as much as restaurants like EATology are keen on serving tourists, Sidorczuk says it’s just as much about the locals.
“A lot of people come in and say the restaurant totally has the same vibe as something in Vancouver,” she says. “I think Vernon really needs more places like this for Vernonites.”
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