A new restaurant has opened in downtown Castlegar.
The Trackside Bistro is the latest business to join a long list of new businesses that are filling vacant downtown retail spaces. More than 15 businesses have popped up downtown in the last 10 months.
The restaurant is situated near the Station Museum and the train tracks — explaining the restaurant’s name and decor — just a few doors down from West’s Fashions.
Trackside Bistro is a partnership between Derek Kittson, who also owns Central City Shoes, and Steve and Maria Toffolon.
Maria is the partner you can always find in the kitchen. She loves to cook and had a life-long dream of opening a restaurant. So when Kittson started pitching the idea of opening a restaurant she and husband Steve decided to go for it.
So far, she is loving it.
“It was my 50th birthday present,” said Maria.
The trio took more than a year to get to the point that the doors could open, all working other jobs and working on the restaurant during their “free” time. Steve got the building ready while Maria tested out recipes.
“I was ready to add something to my desk,” explained Kittson. “My shoe store turned six years old and I have a great staff there.”
Once Kittson started thinking about a location for the restaurant, he realized he was literally sitting on top of it. He owns the building that houses the new restaurant and lives upstairs.
The restaurant has already seen some busy days and Kittson and Maria — who are working it themselves — think they have most of the kinks worked out.
“I’ve done every duty, except cook,” said Kittson, who had to jump up from an interview several times to take care of customers.
Kittson grew up in Castlegar, but left for college and stayed in the Vancouver area for about 15 years. He saw the real estate and business potential in a move back to Castlegar and when he combined that with lower living expenses, Kittson knew it was time to head back to the Kootenays.
Maria spent 18 of her younger years in Castlegar before also moving to the Vancouver area where she met Steve. The couple then moved to Castlegar in 2001 where they have been raising their family.
The Trackside Bistro is open from 7 a.m. to 3 p.m. and features breakfast and sandwiches all day and pizza by the slice after 11 a.m. You can also get fresh-baked goods like muffins, cookies and banana bread and specialty coffees.
Maria makes everything from scratch and the meats are roasted in-house and sliced for their sandwiches. The breakfast sausage is even made in-house.
With hundreds of people working in the downtown core, Trackside Bistro expects to see even more customers come through the door once word gets out that they are open.