Rick Reichelt (left)

Rick Reichelt (left)

Don Cherry’s now open at the Lodge

Don Cherry’s Sports Grill, with 14 large screen TVs and 13 beers on tap, has been unveiled at the Vernon Lodge Hotel.

A beloved hockey icon has taken over Checkers Bar and Grill.

Don Cherry’s Sports Grill, with 14 large screen TVs and 13 beers on tap, has been unveiled at the Vernon Lodge Hotel.

New flooring, paint, lighting, tables and chairs spruce up the pub along with tweaks to the menu including chili made from the favourite recipe of Cherry’s wife, Rose.

Rick Reichelt, partner/general manager of food services at the Vernon Prestige Hotel, and Inna Turchin, partner/corporate executive chef, are now in charge of food services at the Vernon Lodge, including Don Cherry’s, with the help of Ed Kendall, supervisor of Don Cherry’s.

Reichelt, Turchin and Kendall all have more than 30 years experience in the restaurant industry and are excited about the changes to the sports bar.

They are happy they have been able to keep the same staff and many of the favourites from the old Checkers menu.

“We have carried over old Checkers classics that people who supported the pub for a long time loved,” said Turchin.

The Vernon Don Cherry’s is the 20th in the chain of sports grills across Canada.

“It is all about true Canadian classic food. The decor is all about hockey and sports, with the policy that at any seat you take, you can see the game,” said Turchin.

They also serve the Don Cherry’s menu in the BX Creek Bar and Grill so families can enjoy the same food.

The Painter family, which purchased Don Cherry’s in 2007, doesn’t see its restaurants as a franchise.

The corporation helps out with menus and corporate contracts but they trust that each operator knows their local market and runs their location accordingly.

“We are getting into showing the UFC fights and other big sports events,” said Kendall, adding that Don Cherry’s offers drink specials and happy hour deals, welcoming people to sit back and enjoy the game.