The Elite Restaurant on Penticton’s Main Street may be gone, but it won’t be soon forgotten as the building is set to take on a new life as a steakhouse.
Fred Trainor, Penticton local and new owner, said the building is well on its way to taking its new form as Block 300 Casual Steakhouse. He said that he appreciates the past the building has but is excited to take the venue in a new direction.
“The Elite had a good run, a terrific run from 1927 to 2018, but unfortunately the best days were behind them,” said Trainor, who is a first-time restaurant owner. “When I bought it, it wasn’t to do exactly what they had been doing since 1936 since really I think that cycle has closed on itself.”
Trainor said he’s lived in Penticton for a long time and believes a steakhouse is what the city needs. He purchased The Elite in November 2018 and it was announced a month later, coincidentally, that Penticton’s resident steakhouse Black Iron Grill & Steak House was closing.
“I started planning this back in June, so it’s just coincidental that that happened. I think there’s now a bigger opportunity than there was,” said Trainor. “I think we can do a good job with it.”
Trainor said the outside of the restaurant, located at 340 Main St., will remain the same but the inside has been “completely gutted.” He said part of this was renovation was necessary due to the building’s age.
“We’re not changing the facade of the building. It’s very iconic and, as a matter of fact, it’s on the Penticton registry as well. So we’re going to re-paint it and re-skin the sign,” said Trainor. “The challenge of the building, which is 91-years-old, is I knew going in that there were going to be some surprises. And you don’t know what those are until you get in there.
“We ended up having to completely replace all of the electrical, we had to yard out every wire and start all over again. And we had to do the same thing with the plumbing. And then we had some attic issues.”
As an homage to The Elite, the interior of the new restaurant will feature some shadow box installations containing historic pieces. Trainor said renovations are about halfway complete, with a set opening date for May 3 at 5 p.m..
Trainor said this new business venture is his retirement after a career in real estate development. He’s already hired a general manager and chef for Block 300 Casual Steakhouse and they will be developing the menu together soon.
“I’m on my last project before I retire from that particular business (real estate development), but I know that I don’t want to retire for life. So this is my retirement project if you will,” said Trainor. “I was just looking for something else to do because I like to keep challenging myself… I’m just absolutely stoked, so excited, with what we’re going to do.”
According to Trainor, the new restaurant will pride itself on good food and service at affordable prices. He is still in the process of securing a liquor licence and said the business hours will run from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. with the option to stay open later if late diners so desire.
“We intend to set the bar really high in terms of consistency of food, in terms of customer service and all those things related,” said Trainor. “And we’re going to set the prices as low as we can. That’s our mantra.”
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