When you pass through the iconic (and adorably Instagram-worthy) bright blue door at Mittz Kitchen, you will be greeted with happy faces, a delightful hello and the sweet and savory scents of homemade food. As you sit and get comfortable, it’s likely you may even catch a glimpse of co-owner, Steve Mitton lending a helping hand in the eatery.
We had the pleasure of sitting down with Steve to get to know a little bit more about him and the business. Between the co-owner (and brothers) Steve and Jeff Mitton, they’ve got over 50 years of shared knowledge in the hospitality industry. It’s no wonder Mittz Kitchen is a go-to for so many Kamloopsians!
As a business owner, employer and someone in the hospitality industry, being a people person is crucial to the industry. If you have ever met Steve, you know that he fits this pressing persona perfectly.
When asked why a customer should choose his business, Steve’s response was quick and to the point – “We have damn good food.” With a variety of local, homemade and Canadian cuisine – there is nothing that Mittz Kitchen doesn’t do well. “This is a very hard question (what’s your favourite thing on the menu?) the burgers are very good, Beef Short Ribs are very good and Sablefish is very popular. We are best known for our good homemade food. Everything is made from scratch! Our buns are from Craig’s bakery – another great local place. We try to use as much local produce as possible, we have such a high volume that it does get very hard. Seasonally, the Chef will go get stuff from the farmers market.”
Along with tasty food, this full-serve restaurant carries a variety of local brews and wines – hence their slogan, “a place for grub and grapes” – the grapes are served the way grapes are served best – fermented (they also have a beer for all the Hopp lovers).
“On tap we ALWAYS have Red Collar and Iron Road breweries as well as all the wineries; Privato, Harpers Trail, Fort Berens, Monte Creek. We carry all the local wineries and all the local breweries. And soon, when the next two breweries open we will probably look at adding them on as well”, explains Steve.
Steve added that he wouldn’t consider moving the establishment, saying “I like it (downtown) because it is the central hub. It is close to the businesses for lunch hour. We get lots of doctors, lawyers and other business people in here”. While gesturing to customers at the other end of the restaurant, Steve explained: “there are actually a couple of lawyers over there.”
Mittz Kitchen is a popular choice amongst almost any crowd, attracting business folk, university students and date-night goers of all ages!
Steve sums the vibe up perfectly, saying “Mittz is contemporary and modern, a cross of both. You can feel comfortable in anything really – from shorts to being dressed up in a suit. We don’t really have a “one feel”.
The next time you are downtown, look for the blue door, that perfect people-watching patio, and delicious menu of Mittz Kitchen. Stop by, say hi and enjoy!
Additionally, if you’re interested in learning more about downtown Kamloops, you can find more information on our website here. Moreover, we’re also on Facebook here.
In 1914, McAllister & Howard Clothiers was established at 235 Victoria Street. The men’s boutique store is infused with a history of Italian immigration and neighbourhood relationships. Over a century later, the boutique men’s store stands between a bustling coffee shop and shoe store.
Owner David Fuoco humbly shares his family’s connection to the men’s store. “My grandfather [Ray Fuoco] bought it from McAllister and Howard, years later my dad bought it from him…and I bought it from my dad.” A Kamloops local, David spent many afternoons working for his grandfather at his bookstore, Book 221, or doing homework in the basement at McAllister & Howard. He laughs, “I think my first paycheque was $14 and it was around $1 per hour so that was fun.”
David adds, “I’m very fortunate to the people before me, of everything they’ve done. My grandfather loved downtown. He would throw 200 Block parties. I remember helping him setup bocce in front of the bookstore which people would play for 3 months in the summer. He’d have a barbeque out and would roast chestnuts during the Santa Claus Parade. He would sit down and just talk to strangers, ask them where they’re from, and promote Kamloops. He’d go, “if you don’t live here, move here!”. When you come across those people, it’s amazing. It’s amazing to see the passion and we hope to live up to that.” In recent years, the City of Kamloops gave the 200 block of Victoria Street the designation of Ray Fuoco Block to honor Ray Fuoco’s community contributions.
In 2008, David bought McAllister & Howard from his father, Reg. He adds, “I went through university for engineering design, but realized it wasn’t what I wanted. I went back to university and pursued a Bachelor of Business Administration degree. At the same time I got more involved here at the store and really enjoyed it. I’m not sociable so being in front of people all day was a challenge, but quite fun.”
Today, McAllister & Howard carries brands such as PULLIN, Victorinox, and Tommy Bahamas. David and his team emphasize customer service and quality above everything else. David admits, “I’m shy, quiet and reserved, but I use clothing to fix that. Clothing doesn’t have to be the most expensive but if it fits properly and you look good in it, you’re going to feel good throughout the day. It gives you that self-pride. Watching guys realize that and rediscover their confidence is a lot of fun.”
David’s kind demeanor and stylish inventory is a unique find in Kamloops. We look forward to not only watching David carry on his family’s legacy, but personalizing his storefront at 235 Victoria Street!
Additionally, if you’re interested in learning more about what’s going on in Downtown Kamloops, you can find us on our website here. Moreover, you can find us on Facebook here.
A small staff with big plans, RhiCom Networks has been expanding its reach out of 156 Victoria Street since 2010. RhiCom Networks is an internet service provider for commercial and residential properties throughout British Columbia.
Kayle Tjomsaas acquired RhiCom in December 2017; however, Kayle has a unique history with the Kamloops-based company. With a Bachelor of Computer Science in hand, Kayle transitioned from a contracted worker to a full-time employee, to a manager, to business owner since 2010. His growth within the company is impressive and a testament to his work ethic.
Kayle works alongside brother, Shane, who is RhiCom’s Director of Business Development. Shane explains that his team, “…does network setup and engineering for organizations that may not have IT resources. Right now, we serve over 250,000 British Columbians from Kelowna to Prince Rupert.”
A Kamloopsian since the age of four, Shane grew up in the tournament capital and pursued a Bachelor of Business Administration degree at Thompson Rivers University. Currently, Shane develops business relationships throughout the province. In 2018, RhiCom Networks received designation to work on film crew sets in British Columbia. An exciting development for the team, RhiCom Networks is certified to bring a remote network to film crews, as well as other industries!
Shane adds, “as we build more relationships, RhiCom expands further across the province. For example, we can use a rooftop of a building to reach internet service a little further. The more plans we have, the bigger our network grows. It’s great to work with different communities.”
When asked what he appreciates most about his work, Shane replies, “It’s great to work with a small team. Everyone is professional and just takes initiative. It’s a unique atmosphere that you get in an office like that…and Kayle has always been an advocate about have a face that customers can come in and meet. It’s why he’s passionate about having a street front location in Downtown Kamloops. Both he and I really like that.”
We are proud to have the Tjomsaas brothers and RhiCom Network’s entrepreneurial skills foster in Downtown Kamloops. We look forward to following the team’s success in the future!
Noble Pig Brewhouse
In 2010, the Noble Pig Brewhouse was established at 650 Victoria Street in Downtown Kamloops. The Pig- as the locals call it- has been catalyst for micro-brewing culture & sustainability throughout Kamloops. Partner and Operations Manager Meaghan Summers admits, “we’re family and that’s what makes the Pig part of who and what we are.”
With eight rotating brews on-tap, food crafted in a 100% scratch kitchen, and dedicated staff, The Pig embodies hospitality. The team at the full-service restaurant & brewery sources as many local ingredients as possible for its menu.
Meaghan explains, “…we really try and focus on incorporating our beer into our baking program so that includes creating our own sourdough starter from our pumpkin ale yeast. We also procure hops from the local farm near Westsyde. In brewing, it really boils down to the fact that Kamloops has awesome water and it’s why we have great breweries in town. The natural water has a lot of desirable, mineral components that are similar to German-style beers… that’s what made us start with the beer program in 2010. We’re also lucky that Kamloops also has a state of the art water treatment facility!”
When asked what she’s most proud of, Meaghan states, “It’s a no brainer. Our team. Our team is amazing. The team that’s here is a wonderful, wonderful family. We call ourselves piglets and we’ve very supportive of each other. I feel very humbled and very grateful for the team we have in place…and that’s because of the effort and the energy that we put in as a leadership group to make sure that everyone feels appreciated and valued. Our team is extremely important to us. Sara, our restaurant manager, started here and had never served before…she’s absolutely fantastic at what she does and that is a testament to our belief in people.”
The Piglets aren’t slowing down when it comes to beer, food, or sustainability. In January 2018, the brewhouse announced its new year’s resolution to “skip the straw” after Piglets presented the idea to the leadership team. Meaghan “was so excited and felt it was appropriate. I really feel we need to reduce our carbon footprint and showcase our sustainable program. It just seemed like a natural fit.”. On a larger scale, the Pig is working with Ocean Wise and their plastics program as well as outsourcing tree planting companies to reduce the business’ carbon footprint.
In Spring 2018, the brewhouse announced “THIS LITTLE PIG HAS WINGS!” and will be opening a new concept restaurant in 2018. “This is a combination of our passions, our love, and our favorites coming together to create a unique dining experience for Kamloops. The downtown is a perfect location to be doing something like this. We’ve got some incredible restaurants downtown – look at Terra Restaurant and The Brownstone. We have a combined 30 years’ experience behind us and we’re a little excited!”
Genuine. Hardworking. Smart. These are just a few adjective we could muster to explain Meaghan and the Piglets at the Noble Pig Brewhouse. So, whether you’re ordering a pint of the Fascist Pig Pilsner or filling a growler with Mocha Porter, we think you’ll be in for a treat at 650 Victoria Street!
Victoria Street is home to a beloved pizza joint called Pizza Pi! Founded in 2015 by Greg Smith, the pizzeria has established itself as a gourmet hotspot that emphasizes local grub and hand-crafted brew. Pizza is in its name and Greg’s team has perfected just that all the while promoting an active hub for musicians and artists alike.
A Kamloops native, Greg has worked in downtown restaurants since he was 12 years old and feels that downtown has been the cultural hub of our growing city throughout the years. The opportunity to invest in a turnkey pizzeria presented itself at the right time. Greg adds, “my brother and I, along with the help of many friends and family, my landlords, my staff, all helped build this little gem. I mean that literally! We tore down and built walls. We hammered open and re-concreted floors thrice. So much blood, sweat, and tears from caring people that had no stake in this business; except to want to see something special born and thrive in our city.”
On any given day guests may sip local brews from Red Collar Brewing – a business located only 1 block away on Lansdowne- or top pizzas with pepperoni and ham from the Vernon Sausage Company. Take a stroll inside and notice walls adorned with artwork from local artists. The pizzeria is an hub where patrons have the opportunity to play a board game, sign up for open mic, or catch an intimate concert.
Greg admits he has no favourite type of pizza. He states, “For me, it’s about the ingredients used in every step of making the pizza and making sure its always changing. It could have an alfredo base, nut-free pesto, beef rib, roast poblano, avocado sauce…some simple and some ridiculously pretentious pizzas, but I love them all!”
Ingredients, art, and a very cool website aside, Greg is most proud of his staff. He adds, “They work hard to be a team. I also believe that the business owners in downtown need to make an effort to make downtown the desirable choice for consumers. If we don’t take an active roll in achieving that then people will go elsewhere.”
Undoubtedly, Pizza Pi’s delicious menu, funky atmosphere, and down-to-earth staff make for a memorable experience that we enjoy on a (very) regular basis in Downtown Kamloops. The pizzeria is unveiling major changes in 2018 so stay up to date by following Pizza Pi Kamloops on Twitter and Facebook!
Additionally, if you’re interested in finding out more information about what’s going on in Downtown Kamloops, you can find out more on our website here. Moreover, you can also find us on Facebook here.
Originally from Gatineau, Quebec, Elie Hanna moved to Kamloops in 2008 to pursue a Bachelor of Business Administration degree at Thompson Rivers University. He had never been to Kamloops but, Eli “…decided to google Kamloops right before I left and was so excited for the mountains and scenery. I hopped on a bus for four days and it was the best decision I ever made.”
Elie noticed that his friends loved poutine, but there were no sole poutineries serving authentic meals of fries, cheese curds, and gravy- a Canadian staple. He adds, “I worked at a poutinerie back in Quebec and there are tiny little poutine shacks everywhere. Nothing like this existed in Kamloops so I thought, “why not?”.
In October 2016, Elie hired two employees and opened Frenchies Poutinerie at 104-340 Victoria Street. With rotating poutines on the menu, Frenchie’s gained popularity immediately from opening to closing hours. Elie admits, “It’s my favorite part, to be able to create new poutines and watch my customers enjoy them. It’s super cool to hear the feedback directly from people you see on the street everyday!” By the Summer 2017, Elie’s staff grew to 11 to keep up with catering special events, weddings, and serving up the Downtown Kamloops community.
When the 2017 wildfires engulfed BC’s Interior, Elie and his team assisted the region in a handful of ways. The Frenchie’s Poutinerie staff volunteered their time and labour with the SPCA at Riverside Park to assist families who fled the fires with their pets. Further, Elie donated over $4,500 worth of poutine and drinks to BC fire evacuees. Since then, Elie has stepped up as a leader in the Kamloops community for the less fortunate. Over 50 people living with homelessness were given free Christmas dinners in 2017. In 2018, the poutinerie started a “Pay-It-Forward” system where customers can buy a meal for themselves and a future meal for someone less fortunate.
Elie humbly states, “There’s a lot of hate in the world, I might as well spread a bit of love. It is who I am as a person. My business represents me. I strongly believe if my business is doing well then I should share some of the wealth with others. If I can keep a roof over my head and food on my table and can survive like everyone else, I might as well give a helping hand to others. It’s how I’ve been brought up.”
Elie’s work ethic has been recognized throughout the community. In early 2018, Elie was nominated for two different awards, the “Giving Back-Social Stewardship Kudoward” by the Kamloops Central BIA, as well as “Food & Beverage Front of House of the Year Award” by Tourism Kamloops.
It is evident that under Elie’s leadership, the entire staff go above and beyond on a daily basis to connect with the entire community. Frenchie’s Poutinerie is a unique and delicious addition that we’re proud to have in Downtown Kamloops!
Additionally, if you’re interested in learning more about what’s going on in Downtown Kamloops, you can find more information on our website here. Moreover, you can find us on Facebook here.