Without even having a full season under their belt, Patio Burger has already earned the title of New Business of the Year in the Best of the South Okanagan Awards.
“To be named best new business is pretty exciting for the whole team,” said owner Gord Ferguson. “We’re really delighted with our full first year that is about to happen here.”
After giving the old concession in Lakawanna Park a complete makeover, Ferguson opened Patio Burger partway through the 2016 tourist season, making 2017 their first full summer.
Ferguson started working with the neighbourhood in 2015, when he took over the lease on the ageing conncession across from Okanagan Lake beach. From the start, he had a vision of not just improving the concession building, which was showing its age, but expanding it and beautifying the park it sits in. His third goal was to provide a better level of food, while maintaining the value and beach theme.
He said the concept has been more successful than he had expected.
“The reactions from people are exactly what I was hoping for. Walking down Burger Boulevard is a wonderful place to be with the big band and swing music, the colours, and all the 400 flowers that we planted made it through the winter and they’re growing out,” said Ferguson.
The restored concession is also providing summer jobs for youth. Ferguson said he employed 35 people last year and expects to have 48 full and part-time wokers this year.
“It’s a lot of great jobs for young people. A good percentage of those people, its their first job,” said Ferguson. “It’s a great crew. They come from all over.”
The buzz about Patio Burger has drawn attention from more than hungry beachgoers. Ferguson said a number of people have approached him about the possibility of expanding. He’s interested in the idea, noting that they have been careful to brand the menu and concept.
“We’re having a lot of discussions both locally and throughout the valley. Hopefully that comes to fruition at some point,” said Ferguson, adding that it will be hard to match the current location. “We will never have spot like this, this is such a beautiful setting.”
The Best of the South Okanagan awards, as voted by the public, were handed out on June 22 at a special event held by the Penticton Western News for the businesses.