NOTE: Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Kettle River and Provisions Kitchen have limited operations. They are still offering off-sales of packaged product (cans and new, unused growlers). Provisions is also offering their food in take-out form, available for takeaway or delivery. Opening hours are from 3:00 pm to 7:00 pm on Wednesdays through Sundays. Please pay via a cashless method and keep an eye on their website for more updates.
As the craft beer scene has intensified so, too, has the quest for perfect pairings with food. At one time if you’d have asked a restaurant server what to pair with your menu selection, you’d automatically hear a host of wine selections. Not so anymore as attention has shifted to make room for the fabulous and sometimes complex brews the talented craft brewers are creating. A prime example of this can be found in the perfect pairing between Kettle River Brewing and Provisions Kitchen in Kelowna.
The start of something special
When Kettle River Brewing opened, partners Russ Burmell-Higgs and Chris Dedinsky (general manager) knew from the start that the beers would be even more well received with a complement of food. The core business concept was to create a small batch neighbourhood brewery tucked away, yet not far from downtown Kelowna.
“The philosophy at Kettle River is a simple one, brew great beer in the back and provide an inviting space to enjoy them in the front.”
Rather than stray from the goal to experiment with new brew recipes and ingredients to create an “ever-evolving collection of beers on tap,” Kettle River put out a request to food trucks for the grand opening in August 2016. Sisters and owners Meiko and Courtney Koga of CrAsian Foods truck, answered the call as first responders and the match was divine from day one.
Says Dedinsky, “Initially we instituted Food Truck Fridays with rotating suppliers and our customers consistently gave us great feedback on CrAsian Foods. Their menu had some unique dishes that paired well with our beer and offered something different from the food found in other breweries. Plus, they were always reliable so we wanted their truck here as much as possible.”
Fast forward to winter 2018 when celebrated chef, Brock Bowes, joined the CrAsian Foods Corp team. The demand continued to increase, as did the catering base which quickly outgrew the truck facilities. Serendipitously, as the CrAsian team began to explore options, Kettle River entertained the idea of installing a permanent kitchen.
“Of course,” says Dedinsky, “We thought of them first and proposed the idea to them of leased space where they could create a kitchen that’d service our Kettle River customers and give them a base for their catering operations.”
Kettle River hatches Provisions Kitchen
Thus, they entered a new business arrangement – together, yet separate – and Provisions Kitchen and Catering was born inside Kettle River.
“We don’t pour their beer and they don’t cook and serve our food,” Bowes jokes.
The labour for the birth of Provisions was a collaborative affair. The Koga parents and Bowes’ dad stepped in for construction, while the electrical engineering skills of Burmell-Higgs and multi talents of Dedinsky proved invaluable, relates Bowes. Despite being a leased space for Provisions, it was designed by them and built to accommodate the cooking style and catering needs.
Says Courtney Koga, “It is a great relationship and Kettle River respects what we’re doing as we respect them. We try to keep our food distinctive from the other breweries in this district. We love to see what they’re brewing and develop dishes that work well with what’s on tap.”
For the beer enthusiast, it’s a seamless experience. You step up to the rustic counter to select from the chalkboard menus your beverages of choice and food items. You pay for the order, receive a numbered stand, and head to your seat with your number to await delivery. Single drinks travel with you; beer flights are procured and delivered; while the food order is given to the kitchen to prepare and serve.
When we popped into the cabin-like setting one Sunday, a running group had descended upon the brewery to apparently reward themselves for their healthy lifestyle. Despite the rush on the taps and food, the wait was minimal.
We enjoyed a well-crafted flight including Nice Driveway Pilsner, Medusa X(TRA)PA, Business in the Front Blonde Ale, and Couch Money Pale Ale.
As a lunch pairing, Mark opted for the meat pie and I went for the ever-popular poutine. One weekend we’ll return with friends to experience one of Provisions’ big boards. Inspired by the whim of the kitchen, these boards can be a hearty bucket of chicken, rib-eye or some other substantive (and delicious) protein, vegetables and condiments. Provisions sources the best of ingredients as locally as possible. It also supports food truck friends, serving Renegade Food Truck vegan burger patties and Artisto Gelato.
Provisions truly has a talented team crafting what is described as “casual camp-inspired food done right” that’s a great fit for cozy ambiance. The team is open to modifying the menu to respond to specific dietary requirements of its customers. Bowes, who serves on the Okanagan Chefs Association board, adds to his portfolio of accomplishments his role as one of the competitors in this season’s Top Chef Canada.
Come Taste Kettle River’s Provisions
Watch Kettle River and Provisions social media feeds for all the latest news. There’s often fun events for special occasions and Sunday Taproom Trivia in which to participate.
Along with its growler program, Kettle River does small batch canning for some of its popular brews so there’s no need to walk out empty handed. Select liquor stores in Kelowna also carry Kettle River cans. In the taproom, you can buy brewery-themed merchandise and local art on display.
Provisions and Kettle River share the same hours, closed Monday and Tuesdays, and open from 12 noon to 10 pm from Wednesday through Sunday. As spring approaches, Dedinsky is excited about the patio season. With new bathrooms installed (bringing the public ones to three and a separate staff facility), capacity has grown and now allows for 65 inside and 45 on the patio.
See you there soon?
If you are looking for more information for coping during the COVID-19 pandemic, please refer to these government resources.