Cahilty Creek and Bella Italia grow with new owners

Yolanda and Kelly Dye behind the bar at the restaurant. Photo supplied.

Two restaurant staples in the village have been taken on by new owners.

Cahilty Creek Kitchen & Taproom is now in the hands of Kelly and Yolanda Dye and Bella Italia is being revamped by Tarrah MacPherson. Both restaurants are being taken over from long time village restaurateurs Peter and Tina Ernst.

The Dyes helped open the restaurant with the Ernsts eight years ago. This is the first time they are owners after long careers in the industry.

Kelly, who has worked in food and beverage since the age of 17, said the change was a natural progression and it has been challenging but rewarding.

“It’s a big step but it was our plan from day one,” he said, adding their team of long time staff helped make the transition go smoothly.

“We love the flexibility it gives us to enjoy our lives,” he said. “We can ski with the kids’ class once a week and set aside time for family…the last eight years seem to have flown by.”

They said no major changes will be happening for now. They completed major renovations last fall, and they’ll continue welcoming new and old visitors.

Down the road at Bella Italia, MacPherson is preparing for her first winter owning and operating a restaurant in the village.

Previously the food and beverage manager for the Sun Peaks Grand Hotel she was in a car crash on the Coquihalla Highway last December which left her with serious injuries and changed her life’s direction.

After being off work for 10 months the thought of returning to that role was daunting. Instead she worked with the Ernsts and got the keys on Oct. 3. Since then she’s been working hard at perfecting things for this season.

“You can’t compromise the business model that’s been created here,” she said. “We’re making slow changes to move to more authentic Italian, not New York Italian, Northern Italian with a Sicilian influence.”

Some of those changes include sourcing parmesan, coffee, vinegars and oils from Italy; slicing prosciutto in house; hand rolling large format pasta and making all pizza and pasta sauces in house.

MacPherson, who has spent extensive time travelling and living in Italy, is excited to bring authentic tastes and experiences to the mountain.

“My whole career has been front of house but cooking is my passion. I would’ve never taken over if it had been a Greek restaurant or pub.”

She plans to be open the majority of the year, from June to Thanksgiving, mid-November to April and for lunch on weekends from Dec. 15 to Mar. 15. In the winter she will launch an adults only après ski snack bar where each alcoholic drink comes with a different Italian snack like risotto balls or a ravioli.

The restaurant has also partnered with Helmcken Chocolates from Clearwater to offer high end chocolates exclusively for their customers, something that complements the extensive pastry experience of award-winning chef Carson Bibby.

“I see myself in Sun Peaks for 10 plus years,” MacPherson said. “Every little thing counts in business…we prefer people come often and that if locals want pasta they won’t hesitate to come, we want people to come because the pasta is awesome.”

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