It's small, quirky, and the stuff local legends are made of, but the doors are soon to close for good at Surrey's Round Up Cafe.
The 50s-style diner, specializing in classic, hearty homemade Canadian and Ukrainian fare, revealed this week that the COVID-19 pandemic has taken an irreversible toll on the business.
Located in Surrey's Whalley neighbourhood at 10449 King George Boulevard, the Round Up has been a local favourite for decades, and a much-beloved fixture in the community.
The diner is the kind of tiny spot where locals and regulars perch elbow to elbow on stools encircling a centre counter, tucking into heaping plates of all-day breakfast, burgers, and more from the griddle.
Popular dishes include fare like breakfast combo plates and omelettes, a "Bases Loaded" burger with all the trimmings (a nod to the diner's longstanding ties to youth baseball in the community), classic diner grub like a Reuben or Club sandwich, and plenty of Ukrainian items like pierogies and cabbage rolls. Many fans know not to skip out on a slice of homemade pie, too.
A family-run diner for over 60 years
The Round Up was bought in 1959 by Orest and Goldie Springenatic. Though Orest passed away in the 1990s, and Goldie has stepped back from operations, the diner is still in the family: daughter Colette and son Dennis own and run the restaurant.
Last year, with the onset of the pandemic and its related restrictions, the Round Up opted to close down for several months, eventually re-opening in December 2020 to great response from customers. The diner had installed dividers and modified its seating for distancing and had been doing take-out, delivery and patio business.
Now the diner anticipates only being able to operate until the end of April, according to the Surrey Now Leader, who first reported on the pending closure of the Round Up. Dennis Springenatic spoke on CBC Vancouver's "On the Coast" Wednesday afternoon to confirm the closure, explaining that they hope to be able to use up the food they have purchased to serve customers through to the end of this month.
The family also reportedly owns the property, and do not have immediate plans to sell the building, which is registered as Surrey Heritage Site #146. The restaurant occupies the 1949-built Goodmanson Building, and features "a neon sign and facade surfaced by stucco and angled plank boards."
V.I.A. reached out to the Round Up Wednesday morning regarding news of the closure but has not yet received a reply.