When Bryan Flint first stepped foot in a commercial kitchen at age 18, the prospect of one day owning his own restaurant hadn’t entered his mind.
But in training with some of the region’s top chefs, he discovered a passion for food and a knack for taste that today has him delighting diners at The Italian Kitchen.
Serving exceptional cuisine for more than 20 years, the award-winning restaurant has earned its place among Vernon’s best.
“It’s been fantastic – it’s exactly what I needed,” says Flint, joined at the 75-seat restaurant by restaurant manager Laurell Cornell. “I plan on being here for a very long time.”
For his first few months, Flint focused on the menu – what people loved. What did he discover?
“Honestly, there’s nothing on the menu people don’t enjoy and I’m a firm believer that there’s no need to fix what isn’t broken,” he says. “I always find new things I fall in love with.”
Today, as Flint finishes his first year at The Italian Kitchen, he reflects on some of the many reasons the restaurant has earned its well-deserved reputation.
The pasta – Delicious pasta is a must for any Italian restaurant. Crafted with scratch-made sauces, favourites include chicken and Italian sausage, “Feta, Feta,” a scrumptious mix of broccoli, spinach, pine nuts and feta cheese, and of course, the six-layer lasagna. “I put some love into it when I make it,” Flint says with a smile.
Other must-tries? Any of the “Parms” are also a good choice: “They fly out of here!”
Fabulous fusion – Beyond cuisine whose roots reach back to the kitchens of Rome and Bologna, the Italian Kitchen tempts diners with a variety of fusion flavours. Favourites include the Asian-influenced Roasted Garlic & Asiago Stuffed Tortellini served with sun-dried tomatoes, ginger, cream and soy sauce, and the Santa Fe pasta, featuring sautéed chicken breast, jalapenos, cilantro, black beans, tomatoes and feta. Delicious!
The wine – Good pasta deserves a good wine, and you’ll find an excellent selection on The Italian Kitchen’s list, featuring both Okanagan and international options.
The setting & staff – Located in a beautifully restored, 1930s brick building on 30th Avenue in downtown Vernon, the open kitchen allows diners to watch the chefs in action in and fills the restaurant with tempting aromas. “Our atmosphere is fantastic. It’s a really cool, cosy room with loads of character,” Flint says, commending their staff, too, for ensuring customers have an amazing experience.
The perfect venue for a special evening – A popular local choice for a lunch meeting or larger gathering, The Italian Kitchen also shines for those special evenings, whether it’s an intimate dinner for two or family birthday celebration. Coming up, watch for the return of Saturday evening entertainment and an evening with opera singer Melina Moore in March, when the restaurant will feature a special French-themed menu.