Fire Hall Kitchen and Tap celebrates Thanksgiving by giving back to community

Fire Hall Kitchen and Tap celebrates Thanksgiving by giving back to community

On Monday, Oct. 14, for the second year in a row, the Fire Hall Kitchen and Tap welcomed in the people of Cranbrook for free turkey dinner. Last year, owner Jesse Roberts speculates they fed around 300 people, and this year made food for 400 and nearly ran out.

The occasion was borne from a desire to give back the community that supported them through their “rocky” first summer after opening last year.

“Last year we were just really overwhelmed basically with just surviving the summer,” Roberts recalled. “We had no idea when we opened our doors if we were going to be bankrupt in six months or if we were going to be stressed out and losing our minds or what.”

Roberts said that the restaurant potentially disappointed some customers just by the nature of being a brand-new establishment and that they had to learn a lot of new things every day in order to stay afloat.

“There were people that had been with us from the very beginning,” he said. “Through the course of all of our trials and tribulations the town it seemed just really had our back.”

After surviving through those difficult first months, Roberts and the rest of the owners and their team were filled with gratitude to the community.

“We had so much to learn and the town of Cranbrook basically gave us the opportunity to learn that and to carve out our ideal life really. And so when Thanksgiving rolls around it’s just like well what are you thankful for? And for us it was pretty easy to include Cranbrook in that list of things.”

He explained that the purpose Turkey Day isn’t charity — the point of the day is community.

“We thought this is one thing we can do to contribute and be a part of things and the people that walk into the Fire Hall on Thanksgiving Day are just the coolest people. Some of them haven’t had a meal in a while and others roll up in their Lexus but it’s just the sweetest day.”

The day was made possible by a team of eight cooks and around 20 people in the front of house, all working without pay. Most were employees of the Fire Hall, who Roberts said essentially mandated the owners to hold a second Turkey Day this year. Roberts said it was very important to him that the volunteers enjoy themselves as much as their guests.

The only thing that was for sale was alcoholic beverages, which customers were able to buy and tip their servers on top of. At the end of the day, all the servers pooled their tips together and donated them to charitable causes the Fire Hall supports.

Roberts says that he and his team have endeavoured to hire servers, bartenders and managers based more on being the right kind of community-minded people they seek to surround themselves with, rather than looking for people with the right skill set.

“Skills you can acquire but we tend to go for a different type of person,” he said. “Not that it’s required for people to volunteer, it isn’t at all, but the type of people that we tend to hire there does tend to be that sort of team spirit or being community oriented or just recognizing that whether it’s the Fire Hall that you’re a part of or the community, you are a part of something. And everybody has a role to play. And somehow we get away with having a really good time doing it.”

He also highlighted the efforts of his kitchen team, who he said were there the earliest preparing for the day and stayed the latest cleaning and closing down, after delivering a turkey dinner that Roberts described as “crazy good … better than any turkey dinner I’ve ever had.”

When asked if he will do it again, Roberts replied,

“I don’t see how we really have a choice.”

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

B.C's COVID-19 dashboard shows the peaks and valleys of cases prior to the record daily report of 132 on April 9, 2021. (Dashboard image)
Interior Health has record day of COVID-19 cases

132 cases reported Friday, April 9, more deaths in Vernon hospital outbreak

Tri-Kon will be delivering concrete barriers on Friday afternoon for a patio space that will be shared between Soulfood Farm to Table and Sakura.Trevor Crawley photo.
Outdoor patios in the works for downtown core

Efforts already underway to set up outdoor patios on Baker St. from four local business

The BC Wildfire Service will be conducting an ecosystem restoration burn near the old Kimberley airport next week. BC Wildfire Service file.
Ecosystem restoration burn planned for old Kimberley airport area next week

Burn could begin as early as Monday, April 12, 2021

From wall hangings to plant hangers, keychains and shelves, Radiant Knots creates a variety of pieces to suit for any taste and style.
Cranbrook Arts is Looking Radiant

Cranbrook Arts Featured Artist for the month of April is Radiant Knots.… Continue reading

The Peach is adhering to the mandatory mask protocols put in place by the Provincial Health Officer on Nov. 19. (Monique Tamminga Western News)
Interior Health doesn’t echo B.C.’s daily COVID record

80 new cases reported Thursday, April 8, compared to 91 the day prior

The new 6,300 square foot Cranbrook Food Bank facility is located at 1624 Industrial Rd 2 and is open to the public Monday, Wednesday and Friday from 9:30 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. (Corey Bullock/Cranbrook Townsman file)
New Cranbrook Food Bank officially open to the public

The new facility is located at 1624 Industrial Rd. 2 and open Monday, Wednesday, Friday

Librarian Katie Burns with the Fraser Valley Regional Libraries poses for a photo in Chilliwack on June 18, 2019. Monday, April 12, 2021 is Library Workers’ Day. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress file)
Unofficial holidays: Here’s what people are celebrating for the week of April 11 to 17

Library Workers Day, That Sucks! Day, and Wear Your Pyjamas to Work Day are all coming up this week

A large illuminated heart was installed on the roof of the Vernon Jubilee Hospital May 1, 2020. (VJH Foundation photo)
Three deaths linked to COVID-19 outbreak in Vernon hospital

Interior Health reports two additional deaths at VJH

Robinson Russ, 37, was fatally stabbed on April 4, according to a statement from police. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
Vancouver police name victim following city’s fourth homicide of 2021

Robinson Russ, 37, was fatally stabbed Sunday in the Downtown Eastside

A man wears a face mask past the emergency department of the Vancouver General Hospital. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward)
Calls for stricter action in B.C. as COVID-19 variants projected to climb

Jens von Bergmann says the province has taken a ‘wait and see’ approach when early action is needed

Vancouver’s park board general manager issued a new order Friday restricting tents and other temporary structures from being set up in Strathcona Park after April 30, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
Vancouver park board issues order to restrict tents in Strathcona Park

The order issued Friday restricted tents and other temporary structures from being set up after April 30

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good
Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

Most Read