The Round Up Cafe has operated for more than six decades at 10449 King George Boulevard, Surrey. (File photo)

FOOD

Landmark Surrey diner set to reopen after lengthy closure caused by COVID

Recently, it wasn’t clear to customers when, or if, the Round Up would reopen on King George Blvd.

After more than six months of dark days, the lights of Round Up Cafe will soon shine again.

The landmark Whalley diner is set to reopen in a few weeks, following its COVID-caused closure last spring.

“We will be reopening right around the first week of November, or maybe that last week of October,” said longtime manager Tanya Abendroth.

“We’re just getting the booths all set up with higher backs on the seats, and there’s going to be plastic on each booth, to try to protect the customers as much as we can, and the staff. So it’s going to look a little different, yeah.”

For around 60 years, the Round Up has been owned and operated by the Springenatic family.

Come February, Abendroth will mark 45 years of managing the mid-block eatery.

Recently, it wasn’t clear to customers when, or if, the Round Up would reopen after its extended closure.

“We knew we were reopening, we just didn’t know exactly when,” Abendroth underlined. “We had tried to get someone to (renovate) our booths in June already, but he kept putting us off, so now we’re really trying to push him hard to get it done.

“There were some ups and downs,” during the shutdown. “Some depression,” she continued.

“The majority of employees will be back,” Abendroth said. “One cook has gone back to school so she’ll only be working on weekends, and the servers will be back, except one. She works part-time in a care home so she cannot work in a restaurant with COVID around. Basically we’ll all be back, so that’s something to look forward to.”

• RELATED STORY, from February: New book rounds up stories about landmark Surrey diner.

In “normal” times the restaurant’s capacity is 50 people, and the target is to keep it to that number, no fewer.

While physical distancing might be a challenge in such tight quarters, Abendroth said the immediate future looks bright.

“We’re trying to have use of every table,” she said. “We’ve had all the approvals from the health inspector and everything. It’s all done through them, so it’s good.”

To start, breakfast and lunch will be served from 7 a.m. to 3 p.m., not the usual 5 p.m. closing time.

“We just don’t know how busy it’s going to be in the beginning,” Abendroth said. “I’m sure, almost positive, that the weekends will be really busy, but during the week, I don’t know. Like, the phones have been ringing constantly and everything, and I’ve been here almost every day, doing all the book work and stuff. There’s still bills to pay and everything else.”

Shara Nixon, part of a five-woman team that published a book about the Round Up earlier this year, is thrilled by the restaurant’s return.

“We’re just losing so much of our identity as a city,” Nixon said. “It’s all strip malls. Where is the individualty, the sense of community?… We have to fight to preserve the things we love. We have to be careful and support places like this or we’ll lose them forever.”

The Round Up, which occupies the Goodmanson building opened in 1949, sits on prime property that will certainly be redeveloped one day – but not just yet.

“There are the three properties – where we are, and then Goldie (Springenatic) and family own next door and then there’s the empty lot too,” Abendroth noted. “Goldie’s not ready to sell yet. I kept asking her because we didn’t know what was going to happen with it. You know, are you selling? She says, ‘Tanya, as long as you stay, we’ll be running.’ It’ll be up as long as I’m here, I guess.”

Diner history is covered in the soft-cover book, Stories From the Round Up Café, assembled by Nixon, Jude Campbell, Val Watson, Lucie Matich and Pamela DeJong. The 300 copies of the book quickly sold out after its March 1 launch, Nixon said, and now a “pre-buy” fundraising campaign may be launched in order to print more.

“We’ll wait for the restaurant to reopen, to talk to (owner) Goldie (Springenatic) first, then we hope to get that done.”

CLICK HERE to read more Local Business stories, including this one: 400 Westland Insurance employees, Save-On-Foods coming to Surrey’s King George Hub.

BusinessFoodHeritageRestaurants

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

A new 23-storey condo development – which might also house a new White Rock city hall space – is proposed for the current site of 3 Dogs Brewing on Johnston Road, and will be discussed by the Land Use and Planning committee on Oct. 26. (File photo)
Civic centre could be part of new 23-storey White Rock condo tower

Development proposal to be discussed Oct. 26 by council’s land use committee

(Image: CDC)
Fraser Health orders Surrey food-processing facility to close amid COVID-19 outbreak

Staff member at Surrey long-term care facility also tests positive for the virus

The number of new COVID-19 cases in the Fraser South region has doubled in the last two weeks. The number of cases in the Fraser East region has tripled.
Chart: Tyler Olsen
COVID-19 surge in B.C. fuelled by spikes in new cases in Fraser Valley & Surrey area

Number of newly confirmed cases has tripled in Fraser Valley and doubled in the Surrey/Langley area

Lotto winner Erwin Espiritu. (submitted photo: BCLC media relations)
$1M lotto surprise for Surrey dad buying takeout food for son’s birthday

‘When I went to show my son, he said that there was six zeros on the screen, not three’

B.C. provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry gives a daily briefing on COVID-19 cases at an almost empty B.C. Legislature press theatre in Victoria, B.C., on March 25, 2020. (Don Craig/B.C. government)
B.C. sees 223 new COVID-19 cases, now 2,009 active

Two new care home outbreaks in Surrey, Burnaby

The possibility of the Canadian Premier League expanding to the Fraser Valley has been floated online. (Facebook photo)
Canadian Premier League possibly eyeing Fraser Valley expansion

Soccer league looking to add ninth team to the mix, B.C. markets potentially rumoured

100 Mile Conservation officer Joel Kline gingerly holds an injured but very much alive bald eagle after extracting him from a motorist’s minivan. (Photo submitted)
B.C. driver thought he retrieved a dead bald eagle – until it came to life in his backseat

The driver believed the bird to be dead and not unconscious as it turned out to be

Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

Chastity Davis-Alphonse took the time to vote on Oct. 21. B.C’s general Election Day is Saturday, Oct. 24. (Chastity Davis-Alphonse Facebook photo)
B.C. reconciliation advocate encourages Indigenous women to vote in provincial election

Through the power of voice and education Chastity Davis-Alphonse is hopeful for change

A Le Chateau retail store is shown in Montreal on Wednesday July 13, 2016. Le Chateau Inc. says it is seeking court protection from creditors under the Companies’ Creditors Arrangement Act to allow it to liquidate its assets and wind down its operations.THE CANADIAN PRESS/Ryan Remiorz
Clothing retailer Le Chateau plans to close its doors, files for CCAA protection

Le Chateau said it intends to remain fully operational as it liquidates its 123 stores

The family of Anika Janz, who died after collapsing at school, has launched a GoFundMe to assist with funeral proceedings. (GoFundMe photo)
Family of student who died launches GoFundMe

Rick Hansen Secondary School student Anika Janz, 14, died after collapsing in PE class

Most Read