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Oliver’s Best Of The South Okanagan

There are several good reasons to put Oliver, BC on your staycation bucket list. And not just because it’s beautiful, sunny, and dry, or that we have wild horses, two amazing golf courses, a Grand Prix-style motorsports park, and loads of fabulous wineries.

There’s much more.

Oliver’s amazing local entrepreneur talent has recently been showcased in the Best of the South Okanagan publication featured in the Penticton Western News. And not just in the tourism category!

That means when you come to Oliver you’ll not only find fun things to do and delicious places to eat and drink, but you’ll also find top-notch places to get your car serviced, your pet cared for, your hair done, a pedicure or manicure, do yoga, have a facial or massage, pick up flowers for your sweetheart, grocery shop, and even get your teeth fixed.

A whole slew of pins have been dropped on the Oliver, BC map this year! We’ve got some pretty amazing businesses and entrepreneurs to thank for that.

So, block off a week or two in your vacation planner and get out your notebook. You’ll want to jot these places down. Or simpler yet, favourite this post in your browser!

M & J’s Country Kitchen

Best Burger (1st), Best Brunch (1st), Best Dessert (1st), Best Family Restaurant (1st), Best New Business Under a Year (1st)

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M & J’s Country Kitchen which opened in March of this year cleaned up with five firsts! Certainly, not something you’d expect out of a new business in the midst of a pandemic but here they are!

The restaurant is owned and operated by Jennifer and Matt Hartle who have a strong sense of community. They even have a “Pay It Forward” board behind their front counter where people can purchase meals or beverages to be given to those less fortunate.

Matt has worked in the kitchen on and off for 30 years and Jennifer has a financial background. They put their talents together to create a successful restaurant that serves tasty country homestyle cooking!

Call (250) 485-4920 to reserve or just pop in!

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Dubh Glas Distillery

Best Distillery (1st)

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Dubh Glas Distillery is known for its delicious hand-crafted award-winning Noteworthy Gin. This year it won a Gold Medal with Distinction in the Canadian Artisan Spirit Competition!

During your tasting, you’ll get to sip something extra special. We can’t tell you what it is as we’ve been sworn to secrecy. It’s a surprise just for tasting guests. They will also be launching their new whiskey in December!

Coming up this fall and winter, you can warm your belly with a Dubh Glas version of delicious hot apple cider spiced with vanilla beans, cinnamon sticks, oranges, and Noteworthy Gin.

So many reasons to stop in. Oh, and here’s another one, Juniper, the adorable puppy!

Call (778) 439-3580 to make a tasting appointment!

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Firehall Brewery

Best Place For Happy Hour (1st), Best Brewery (2nd), Best Pub (3rd)

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Fun times at Firehall Brewery are in store this fall! Check this out!

Each Thursday throughout “Movember” you can be part of a fun fundraiser event (Trivia for example) while enjoying one of the best brews you’ll find in the south Okanagan.

Your bubble group of six can stay warm and cozy by the flames of a gas fire pit at the Beer Shop & Social throughout the season! It’s $5 per hour per group of six. Reservations are required.

Check out their event page for weekly details and to reserve.

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The Wienery

Best Food Truck (1st)

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Chef Campbell Kearns has worked as a sous chef, head chef, and even as a private chef! Now he’s the mastermind behind The Wienery Gourmet Hotdog pop-up food truck!

Their award-winning all-beef wieners are 100% organic and made in BC. The buns are baked fresh daily and toppings are sourced locally. They are closed for the rest of the fall and winter, but keep your eyes peeled for them next spring.

The Wienery makes appearances at breweries and wineries in the South Okanagan. They can also be booked for corporate events, staff parties, wedding receptions, and private dinners.

Follow them on Facebook and Instagram for updates.

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Black Sage Butcher

Best Place To Buy Meat – 1st

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Black Sage Butcher offers quality fresh meats including grass-fed, free-range, organic, and also house-made sausages and custom cuts. You can also order a Free-Range Turkey or Free-Range Smoked Bone-In Ham for the holidays!

Black Sage Butcher is temporarily closed for in-store sales to keep everyone safe during the pandemic but you can order online. Some items are available at the window without preorder. Check out the Black Sage Butcher website for more details and to view the product list. To order, call 778-439-2350 or email bsbpreorder@gmail.com.

Road 9 Audrey’s Breads

Best Bakery (1st)

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Who doesn’t love freshly baked bread? Especially when it’s made with love by such a warm and vibrant person like Audrey, who runs Road 9 Audrey’s Breads out of her home.

She bakes with only flours that are made in Canada. She even mills her own four!

Audrey specializes in artisan sourdough, French sourdough, baguettes, and French bakery products. It is all made from scratch and baked on a stone inside a Rofco B40 Belgian oven.⁠ She bakes twice per week and delivers straight to your door.

Call (250)-488-4866 or enixonaudrey@gmail.com to place an order!

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See Ya Later Ranch

Best Restaurant With A View (2nd), Best Patio (2nd), Best Winery (2nd), Best Sandwich (2nd), Best Restaurant With Veg Fare (3rd)

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See Ya Later Ranch, located in Okanagan Falls, has one of the most amazing views in the south Okanagan from their tasting room and vineyards. This 170-acre vineyard dedicates approximately three acres for hospitality purposes. You can experience a wine-tasting (and the view) from a lovely patio. You can also enjoy delicious food prepared by chef Ian Stilborn either in the dining room, or in summer months outside on the bistro patio or in a spacious grassy picnic area. There is so much space to enjoy at this winery!

See Ya Later Ranch also hosts weddings, and what a place to do that! This year, due to COVID, instead of the usual 125-guest weddings, they offered “Elopement” packages for groups of under twenty people. The package includes a photographer, JP, rentals, the ceremony at the pergola, a sparkling Brut Toast, charcuterie or canapés, and a bottle of red and white wine for two hours. Check out this bridal suite too. This is sure to seal any brides deal with this winery!

Call 250-497-8267 or email info@sylranch.com to book a tasting or to make a reservation.

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Oliver Eats

Best Sandwich (2nd), Best Breakfast Brunch (3rd), Best Coffee House (Independent) (3rd)

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COVID sparked some big changes for Oliver Eats which operated mainly as a café that catered at events and festivals. They have now expanded to also sell grocery products including produce, grass-fed frozen protein, cheese, and charcuterie. All of this you can order online or purchase in-store.

Oliver Eats also now sells fresh fish! This season they sold fresh lobster from the east coast and spot prawns from the west coast right out of their parking lot.

Hungry for breakfast or lunch? Stop in for a coffee and hearty lunch including soup, salad, and a sandwich. You can sit and enjoy it right there at one of the outdoor sitting spaces.

Get in touch for more information at 250-498-3394 or email hello@olivereats.com.

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Medici’s Gelateria & Coffee House

Best Ice Cream & Gelato (2nd)

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I can personally attest to the quality and warm comfy environment at Medici’s Gelato & Coffee House. I’ve consumed smoothies, sandwiches, salads, coffee, and gelato here while working on my laptop inside their spacious cozy environment.

Unfortunately for you folks, they are closing their doors and opening new ones to the world of retirement. Thank you Michael and Alison Vaclav for all of your good food, drink, and hospitality. Congratulations on ranking in the Best of the South Okanagan!

Miradoro Restaurant

Best Restaurant With A View (3rd)

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Here’s another incredible view to relish while you enjoy delicious food and drink. It doesn’t matter where you sit, there it is! Such a stunning view!

It’s been an excellent season for Miradoro Restaurant at Tinhorn Creek despite COVID-19. Many guests visited from the Vancouver lower mainland and Alberta this summer. According to Chef Jeff Van Geest, September and October have busier than usual.

This fall season up until December 31st, you can enjoy Short Table Dinners with a maximum of six. Check out these delectable weekly menus! Dinners include three-courses for $39 plus tax. Oysters & Fries is also a big feature this fall.

View a photo gallery of a recent Short Table Dinner! Be sure to reserve online!

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Vagabond Kitchen

Best Burger (2nd), Best Food Truck (3rd)

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Vagabond Kitchen sells all sorts of yummy food items including Nashville Hot Chicken, Pork Belly Steam Buns, Black Sage Burger, and Vietnamese Salad Rolls. They also sell Chicken Tenders and Fries. I tried their burger since it was the winning item on their menu and yes, it’s juicy and delish!

They’ve done lots to keep people safe during COVID including options for ordering ahead, setting up a transaction table where orders are paid for and delivered to. They provide you with the condiments and napkins as opposed to self-serve and they accept only credit card transactions (no cash).

They are closed for the winter but will be open again in the spring. Follow them on Facebook and Instagram for updates!

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Masala Bistro (Kismet Winery)

Best Indian Restaurant (2nd)

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Masala Bistro located at Kismet Estate Winery serves some of the best Indian cuisine that you’ll find in the south Okanagan. It’s all prepared by Chef Colince who has worked at and managed restaurants in New Delhi, India.

Furthermore, you can enjoy some beautiful Kismet wine in the restaurant which is specifically made to pair with Indian food. You’ll find many delicious items on the menu which include Kismet wine pairing recommendations.

The restaurant is open Thursday through Sunday throughout the season beginning at noon. They take their last restaurant order of the evening at 7 pm. Reserve at opentable.ca.

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Howling Moon Cidery

Best Cidery (3rd)

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Although the Howling Moon Cidery didn’t open as expected in April due to the pandemic, they had a super season. They doubled their sales in July and August and continued to sell strongly in September.

Howling Moon grows a whole slew of cider apples in their own orchards including Cox’s Orange Pippen, Golden Russet, Manchurian Crab, Dabnett, Calville Blanc d’hiver, Winesap, Braeburn, and Nicola. They produce between 15,000 and 20,000 litres of apple cider each year and are now into their 8th vintage.

They’re closed for the season now but will be open again in April in preparation for Easter. Follow them on Facebook and Instagram for updates!

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South Okanagan E-Bike Safari

Best Adventure Tourism (3rd)

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South Okanagan E-Bike Safari had a great season regardless of the limitations imposed by the pandemic.

“A big thank you to the Lower Mainland!” Max shouted out. Approximately 90% of their business came from there, 2% came from the Island, and the rest was local.

South Okanagan E-Bike Safari uses the latest German-made Cube E-bikes so discovering the deserts, lakes, mountains, vineyards, and orchards of the South Okanagan is an effortless experience and loads of fun.

Check out their safari packages! You can book ahead to secure your spot for next season. Just make a partial payment (100% refundable). The rest is due in April. Call them at 250-689-2786 for more info.

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Congratulations To Our Other Oliver Winners!

Tania is the new Content Marketing Specialist at Oliver Tourism. She is passionate about lifestyle photography and writing. She also designs websites in her spare time.

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