Keremeos Review Staff
When people talk about the best restaurants in B.C., inevitably it seems that they are going to be in Vancouver, but not this time.
In the latest list of best restaurants published by the Globe and Mail’s Alexandra Gill, Cawston’s Row Fourteen took the top spot, the only one not located in Vancouver.
“It’s humbling, we weren’t expecting it at all,” said head chef Derek Gray. “Just to be in the top ten would have been enough for us.”
The farm-to-table restaurant in Cawston is just eight minutes from Keremeos and a 40-minute drive from Penticton, and situated right in the heart of Klippers Organics.
The Globe and Mail’s top list is the latest to feature them, following Monte Cristo Magazine’s feature in September.
It’s honours such as these that head chef Derek Gray hope will show that there’s more to the region than just wineries.
“Our goal at the beginning was to bring light to the Similkameen Valley, because it’s been overlooked for so long. The wine community keeps growing, and it’s a big draw for people to come out here, but there’s nothing really to make people spend two or three extra days in the valley. They grab their wine, maybe do a couple day trips here and there, and then they’re out,” Gray said. “When you look at the wineries with restaurants, the main draw is the winery, and the focus is about selling bottles of wine. There’s more here than that.”
That drive to highlight all of what the valley has to offer starts off with the restaurant’s location at Klippers Organics. Everything used at the restaurant is either sourced locally, such as all the produce, or from somewhere else in Canada.
“We have a working farm that surrounds us, so not only are we getting organic meats from Two Rivers, but our produce comes from the area around us,” said Gray. “There’s not a lot of restaurants that do what we do.”
Gray had been working in the culinary industry for 11 years, serving as head chef for two different restaurants in Vancouver before his current co-owners Kevin and Anna-Marie Klippenstein approached him with an idea.
“I’ve known Kevin and Anna-Marie for about 10 years now,” said Gray. “One day Kevin just came to the restaurant I was working at, and said “We want to open a restaurant the farm.” I pulled him aside and said that was something I definitely wanted to be a part of. One thing led to another, and here we are.”
Row Fourteen’s farm-to-table focus is all about highlighting the local produce, with the food served up on the tables of the restaurant visible through the windows to the farm outside. The menu is driven by the ingredients, depending on what is currently in season.
Despite the recognition the restaurant has received, the team at Row Fourteen aren’t ready to slow down.
“We’ll continue our path, and what we set out to do,” said Gray. “We want people to know that the Similkameen’s here, that it’s loud and it’s proud, and we really want to focus on that. We want to push it to grow.”
Row Fourteen is currently closed for the holidays, so if you are eager to give their menu a try, you’ll have to wait until they’re open again on March 13.
The list of top restaurants by the Globe and Mail’s Alexandra Gill appeared in the Globe and Mail on Dec. 27.
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