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

Province looking at steps to dissolve Jumbo resort municipality

Disincorporating municipality will likely require a legislative change, according to the province

Coldest Night of the Year returns to Cranbrook in February

Canadian Mental Health Association Kootenays plans to raise $20K

Almost 20,000 parking tickets issued by Interior Health at hospitals in 2019

In 2018, pay parking in Interior Health hospitals totalled $5.3 million of their $2.2-billion budget

New autonomous technology program debuting at College of the Rockies

The College of the Rockies is launching a new two-year Autonomous Systems… Continue reading

City to co-host climate info session in February

City, environmental organizations invite public for discussions on climate change and action

Four things ‘not’ to do if you run into Prince Harry and Meghan in B.C.

Here is a list of some things you definitely should NOT do, according to the BBC

B.C.-based Coulson Aviation C-130 crashes in Australia

Three people are confirmed dead in the crash in New South Wales

New nasal spray launched in Canada to combat hypoglycemic shock in diabetics

Baqsimi is a nasal spray contains three milligrams of glucagon

B.C. RCMP spent roughly $750K on massive manhunt for Port Alberni men

Manitoba RCMP helped with 17-day search through the province’s northern terrain

Future space homes could be made of mushrooms

NASA explores use of fungi to build structures in space

Man killed by police in Lytton called 911, asking to be shot: RCMP

Howard Schantz, also known as Barry Schantz was killed following a standoff at his Lytton home

Canadian public health agencies ramping up preparations in response to new virus

Health officials have said there are no confirmed cases of the emerging coronavirus in Canada

‘Naughty boy’: Monty Python star Terry Jones dies at 77

The comedian has been suffering from a rare form of dementia

Most Read