Food and Drink

This Kelowna restaurant has served the same thing for 77 years

Why fix something that is not broken?

In 1946, a staple of Kelowna dining started and would stand the test of time.

Big Ginger, from 103.1 Beach Radio, decided to venture to the local favourite to see what has kept it around for so long.

For 52 years, Shady Rest Fish & Chips was owned by Mel Peterson.

But when he finally decided to hang up his apron, he announced he wanted to sell the historic shop to someone who would keep the restaurant the same as it has always been.

"I don't really want it to change. As a matter of fact, if someone bought and would do something different, I don't think I would sell it," Pearson told the CBC's Jaimie Kehler in July 2015.

Three years later, Darran and Keri Cawood entered the picture, and in 2018, took up the reins of the fish frying joint. They and their two kids have kept it running for the past five years.

“Me and my dad were born in England,” son Alex told Kelowna10. “Fish and chips is in our blood, so it worked out perfect.”

He said the restaurant has been through a lot over the years, many fish have been fried and many cooks have trodden the floors.

In fact, he pointed out a spot next to the fryers where people have stood for so many years the floor has worn away through several layers.

The walls of the restaurant are adorned with photos of diners from times gone by.

One 70-year-old regular never fails to point out the picture she is in. Even the man who delivered the drink cooler back in the 1950s recounts the memory of first bringing it in.

During the summer on their busiest days, Cawood said they go through astounding amounts of food, and huge stacks of newspaper delivered each day for the classic wrapping process.

When Big Ginger asked what the secret to their success is, the answer was simple: don’t change a thing.

“They come in, it’s the same thing as it was 50 years ago, it’s the same thing they remember eating as a kid,” he explained. “That’s it, just nice, battered fish and chips, you can’t beat it.”

Published 2023-01-20 by Robin Liva

Get a fresh daily look

See what’s happening in and around our city, and the people who call it home.

Our newsroom abides by the RTNDA Code of Ethics and Professional Conduct and follows the Canadian Press Stylebook. If you have any questions or concerns, or would like to send us a news tip, please contact us.

Kelowna10 is division of Pattison Media, and strives to achieve the highest ethical standards in all that we do.