Some of Kimberley’s talented chefs celebrate the formation of the Restaurant Coalition. Back rowMichel Kuhn

Some of Kimberley’s talented chefs celebrate the formation of the Restaurant Coalition. Back rowMichel Kuhn

Promoting Kimberley ‘the foodie town’

Restaurant Coalition meeting March 26 at Bear’s Eatery

For some months now, a group of restaurant owners having been working with the City of Kimberley and Tourism Kimberley to find better ways to market and promote Kimberley as a ‘foodie town’.

The fact is says Mark Raymond of Stone Fire Pizza, there are a disproportionate number of restaurants per capita in Kimberley — more than New York City — and not enough is being done to promote that.

“There are more choices in Kimberley than at  most of the ski hills around — more than Lake Louise or Panorama or Sun Peaks. We’re almost a mini Whistler.

“It’s a fabulous amenity we have. And it goes beyond just quantity. Very few of our restaurants are franchises. They are privately owned by those who are passionate about food and the experience they provide customers.

“This is very much an under-appreciated amenity.”

While people see Kimberley as a destination for skiing or golf, what Greg Bradley from the Kimberley Chamber of Commerce calls secondary experiences, such as dining, really make a difference when it comes to overall trip experience.

And providing that experience, and marketing it, is why the Kimberley Restaurant Coalition was born.

“The intent is for Kimberley restaurants as a group to benefit from an increased market,” Bradley said.

And one of the obvious markets is just down the road in Cranbrook.

“The whole foodie experience is pretty on point right now,” Bradley said. “People really care about where food comes from. We offer a really unique dining experience in Kimberley.”

Whereas in the past, people may have thought of Kimberley as a ‘schnitzel town’ — and you can still get excellent schnitzel — there is a lot more to offer.

“You’ve got the Pedal and Tap, which was featured on the TV show You Gotta Eat Here,” Bradley said. “There are people who plan trips around the restaurants featured on that show. There’s a ton of excellent dining options for people in Kimberley.”

The Restaurant Coalition has only had a couple of meetings thus far, but they are planning one on March 26 at Bears Eatery at 9 a.m. and they hope every restaurant owner in Kimberley will attend.

“We’re looking at any and all ways to promote all our restaurants,” said Jaime Gordon of the Green Door. “Food booths at festivals, partnering with local farmers to get people aware of the products we use. We want to tap into Cranbrook, get people here. We’ve even talked about how we could run a free shuttle.”

The March 26 meeting will discuss all the ideas so far and try to come up with new ones to not only capture the Cranbrook market but Alberta and beyond.

“We would like as much participation as possible,” Gordon said. “It’s beneficial for everyone. With more numbers we can get more accomplished.”

“We will explore whatever avenues might be available to put Kimberley as a dining destination in the forefront of people’s minds,” Raymond said.

If you would like more information about the Kimberley Restaurant Coalition, please email krc@kimberleychamber.com