After two years of planning and preparation, Michael and Jenny Vu are ready to help people relax and reconnect at their new eating establishment, Weekends Restaurant & Lounge.
The couple behind Salmon Arm’s Hanoi 36 at 141 Hudson Ave., opened Weekends on Sept. 15. However, they celebrated their new restaurant’s grand opening at 321 Alexander St. on Oct. 1.
“It’s been two years since we started this concept,” said Michael, explaining Weekends was born from a desire to have a place in Salmon Arm where people could gather, relax, enjoy a beverage and share some tapas-style dishes.
“Weekends came as sort of a need for people to reconnect, because the past two years have been quite difficult through Covid and all…,” said Michael, describing the atmosphere at Weekends as higher energy but welcoming to everyone, including families wanting to enjoy a night out.
“With the growing population of Salmon Arm, we find a lot of younger families are also moving into the area. With that, I know that pubs and bars, they don’t allow children. This would sort of be the in-between.”
Walking into Weekends, the eyes are immediately treated to a feast of local art and design that capture the Vu’s philosophy for Weekends, from a large cherry blossom tree hovering over the bar area, to a commanding scenic image of a colourful sunset illuminating mountains and water below, painted by mural artists Roxi Hermsen and Rebecca Shepherd (who also painted the wall-sized mural at Hanoi 36). By a table at the rear of the restaurant is a living wall created by Conrad Wilkins of Artisan Industries Inc. On another wall are framed collages of colourful butterflies crafted by Chere Strain.
“What we were aiming for is to give people a sense of relaxation,” said Michael. “It’s like when you first arrive at that camping spot. You see the water, you see the trees, you see the mountains. That’s the kind of feeling we want people to have when they walk in here.”
While the decor eases the mind, Weekends’ menu was designed to excite the palate.
“Choosing the dishes for the menu was a combined effort of my wife and I,” said Michael, who is also Weekends’ chef. “These are the dishes that we really enjoyed when we were in Vancouver and as we visited other tapas restaurants… Our goal was to not limit ourselves to one type of cuisine, but sort of introduce Salmon Arm to different types of cuisine.”
Three types of poutines are on the menu, each with Michael’s own twist. Other dishes for sharing include steak bites, a charcuterie board with various meats, cheeses and other items, moules frite (New Zealand mussels cooked with white wine, smoked bacon, onions, garlic, cherry tomatoes, and serve with shoestring fries), and Weekends’ fried chicken.
“We experimented with that, quite a lot, and we actually found the correct batter and then we developed the sauces…,” said Michael of the chicken. “We’re very happy with what we arrived at.”
Weekends is open for lunch from noon to 2:30 p.m., Tuesday to Saturday. For dinner, the restaurant is open from 5 to 9 p.m. Tuesday to Thursday, and from 5 to 9:30 p.m. Friday and Saturday.
Michael has other dishes in mind that he plans to introduce as specials or additions to the menu, which can be viewed at weekendsrestaurant.com.
For more information, visit Weekends’ website or follow its page on Facebook.
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