Roadside changes hands after 23 years

By Ken Johnston

The Roadside Restaurant, Bar and Grill has changed hands for the first time in more than 23 years!
Run by the Venables family for nearly a quarter of a century, another local family has taken the reins. Kelly Berg along with help from her mom Vicki Atkin, has officially taken over as the owner.
Berg, who grew up in Rainy River, said “I needed a job and there isn't much selection here, so I had to go into business!”
The thought of buying the Roadside crossed her mind about six months ago. However, it wasn’t until about a month ago when she got real serious about it. “Some other people made Debbie (Bowman, nee Venables) an offer. She called me and asked if I was serious. That set things in motion.”
December 1st she took over and the fun began! They closed the business so they could begin renovating and cleaning. It will remain closed until at least the end of this week. “We hope to be open later this week as we have a Christmas party booked for the 14th,” said Berg.
Some repairs to drywall, painting, new flooring, a new dishwasher and a fully renovated lounge are in the works! While they plan to keep the west side of the building a restaurant, the east side will be a sports bar. Berg said she plans to put some televisions in and whenever there is a sporting event on play host.
Berg said that the idea of running a restaurant and bar and grill is right up her alley. “I have been working in this type of business in the Nestor Falls area for a number of years.”
Her mom, Vicki, also brings years of experience to the table. For many years she worked and managed the CN Hotel at times. She later started a catering business that has become well known across the district for having amazing food!
The past several years she has cooked in the summer months for a client out on the lake. Now she is planning to help her daughter. “We hope to focus on good home cooked types of meals!” said Vicki.
Berg said that they will be open early in the morning for a breakfast crowd and that Kim Venables has agreed to stay on to do the early shift. They will offer daily lunch and supper specials. Through the week they will be open 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. On weekends they will stay open until 11 p.m.
The business will retain its name. “It was complicated and costly to change the name,” said Berg. However, they are thinking of naming the lounge and may hold a naming contest!
Both Berg and Atkin will cook as well. “We all love to cook and eat good food,” said Atkin.
In addition there will be two part-time waitresses. In total there will be four full-time jobs at the Roadside. “We are still looking for another good cook,” said Atkin.
They had hoped to be open earlier, but they had more renovations than expected. Berg said they have no concrete day for when they will be open again. “People should just keep an eye on the sign in the window. When it says open, come on in!”
They have also spoken to the Walla Walla Inn and plan to work together to promote each other’s services. “We will also be open earlier for seasonal events like hunting season,” said Berg.