Change is in the air at Armstrong’s Royal York Golf Club, and while a proposed major development must wait for city council approval, there’s been no waiting around for Dale Flowers in his new restaurant digs.
Flowers, the new leaseholder at the golf course’s restaurant, has spent the past 15 years running the Cattlemen’s Club restaurant at Vernon’s Historic O’Keefe Ranch. He’s hoping one successful business will beget another.
“The boys at Royal York approached me a few months back,” said Flowers, who fired up the Overlander in the clubhouse in late November.
“(I knew) this was an opportunity for myself, my family and this team of people that we’re here with to put a positive culinary spin on this part of the town. So we jumped on board and we’re happy we did.”
There are new opportunities to be had at Royal York with Armstrong developer Patrick Place on board. While proposals to reshape the golf course and add housing and a host of amenities are still pending council decisions (Jan. 11 is the next meeting), part of the owners’ new vision for the site includes keeping the kitchen will be open all year round — a change from the seasonal arrangement that’s been in place until now.
Behind the name of the Overlander is a history Flowers was close to while working at the Historic O’Keefe Ranch.
“When we started doing our research we learned about the Schubert girl that crossed the country, and she was an Overlander,” Flowers said. The Overlanders were a group of about 150 settlers who travelled from Ontario to B.C. in 1862.
“She was the only female that actually made the trek across the country and survived it,” he said. “There’s actually a house at the O’Keefe Ranch called the Schubert House.”
In a similar fashion, Flowers travelled across the country with his family from Ontario to B.C. 15 years ago and says they’ve always been drawn to the area from Armstrong to Salmon Arm.
“We knew that there was a need for this kind of restaurant in Armstrong, and sure enough the neighbourhood is taking to it and really happy about it, and we’re happy to be here.”
In creating a new menu, Flowers brought over a style similar to the Cattlemen’s restaurant — healthy serving sizes and care for small details — with added attention to the staples every golf clubhouse needs.
“You’ve got to have a really good quality burger,” Flowers said. “And our plans for the future as things progress, we’re going to build a kiosk on the golf course with ice-cold beer, hot dogs and burgers, and then still offer the higher scale food in the dining room.”
Flowers says it’s been a great start at the Overlander; nightly dinner specials like prime rib, pasta and steak have been a hit, and he’s hoping to get the word out about the restaurant’s lunch and Sunday brunch offerings.
There is also plenty of variety on the menu, from chicken schnitzel to escargot.
And as is printed on the bottom of the menu, “if you don’t see something you like, and if it’s within our power to do it, we’d be happy to do it,” Flowers said.