The Round Up Cafe has operated for more than six decades at 10449 King George Boulevard, Surrey. (File photo)

The Round Up Cafe has operated for more than six decades at 10449 King George Boulevard, Surrey. (File photo)

FOOD

Landmark Surrey diner set to reopen after lengthy closure caused by COVID

Recently, it wasn’t clear to customers when, or if, the Round Up would reopen on King George Blvd.

UPDATE: Tuesday, Dec. 1 is the cafe’s reopening date, for daily service from 7 a.m. to 3 p.m., but not on holidays. Our original story, from mid-October, is posted below.

After more than six months of dark days, the lights of Round Up Cafe will soon shine again.

The landmark Whalley diner is set to reopen in a few weeks, following its COVID-caused closure last spring.

“We will be reopening right around the first week of November, or maybe that last week of October,” said longtime manager Tanya Abendroth.

“We’re just getting the booths all set up with higher backs on the seats, and there’s going to be plastic on each booth, to try to protect the customers as much as we can, and the staff. So it’s going to look a little different, yeah.”

For around 60 years, the Round Up has been owned and operated by the Springenatic family.

Come February, Abendroth will mark 45 years of managing the mid-block eatery.

Recently, it wasn’t clear to customers when, or if, the Round Up would reopen after its extended closure.

“We knew we were reopening, we just didn’t know exactly when,” Abendroth underlined. “We had tried to get someone to (renovate) our booths in June already, but he kept putting us off, so now we’re really trying to push him hard to get it done.

“There were some ups and downs,” during the shutdown. “Some depression,” she continued.

“The majority of employees will be back,” Abendroth said. “One cook has gone back to school so she’ll only be working on weekends, and the servers will be back, except one. She works part-time in a care home so she cannot work in a restaurant with COVID around. Basically we’ll all be back, so that’s something to look forward to.”

• RELATED STORY, from February: New book rounds up stories about landmark Surrey diner.

In “normal” times the restaurant’s capacity is 50 people, and the target is to keep it to that number, no fewer.

While physical distancing might be a challenge in such tight quarters, Abendroth said the immediate future looks bright.

“We’re trying to have use of every table,” she said. “We’ve had all the approvals from the health inspector and everything. It’s all done through them, so it’s good.”

To start, breakfast and lunch will be served from 7 a.m. to 3 p.m., not the usual 5 p.m. closing time.

“We just don’t know how busy it’s going to be in the beginning,” Abendroth said.

“I’m sure, almost positive, that the weekends will be really busy, but during the week, I don’t know. Like, the phones have been ringing constantly and everything, and I’ve been here almost every day, doing all the book work and stuff. There’s still bills to pay and everything else.”

Shara Nixon, part of a five-woman team that published a book about the Round Up earlier this year, is thrilled by the restaurant’s return.

“We’re just losing so much of our identity as a city,” Nixon said. “It’s all strip malls. Where is the individualty, the sense of community?… We have to fight to preserve the things we love. We have to be careful and support places like this or we’ll lose them forever.”

The Round Up, which occupies the Goodmanson building opened in 1949, sits on prime property that will certainly be redeveloped one day – but not just yet.

“There are the three properties – where we are, and then Goldie (Springenatic) and family own next door and then there’s the empty lot too,” Abendroth noted. “Goldie’s not ready to sell yet. I kept asking her because we didn’t know what was going to happen with it. You know, are you selling? She says, ‘Tanya, as long as you stay, we’ll be running.’ It’ll be up as long as I’m here, I guess.”

Diner history is covered in the soft-cover book, Stories From the Round Up Café, assembled by Nixon, Jude Campbell, Val Watson, Lucie Matich and Pamela DeJong. The 300 copies of the book quickly sold out after its March 1 launch, Nixon said, and now a “pre-buy” fundraising campaign may be launched in order to print more.

“We’ll wait for the restaurant to reopen, to talk to (owner) Goldie (Springenatic) first, then we hope to get that done.”

FoodHeritageRestaurants

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

Just Posted

Surrey City Hall. (File photo)
OUR VIEW: Surrey’s public hearings are for being heard

Surrey public hearings of late have been devolving into something less than intended

Surrey native Dylan Kinley, shown here with the Douglas College Royals, has signed with the UFV Cascades. (Douglas Royals photo)
UFV Cascades sign Surrey native Dylan Kinley

Tweedsmuir grad, Douglas Royals star joins Abbotsford-based team for 2021-22

Surrey-raised actor Michael Coleman in some of the roles he’s played since the mid-1990s. (submitted photo)
Chat with Robin Williams helped send Surrey’s Coleman into world of acting

‘For me, it was a game-changer,’ says co-founder of Story Institute acting school

Record-setting high jumper Emma de Boer, who lives in Cloverdale and attends Holy Cross Regional High School in Fleetwood, will train and study architecture at the University of Pennsylvania (UPenn) next fall. (submitted photo)
Surrey jumper on a high after recruitment by UPenn track team

High jumper Emma de Boer aims to leave Cloverdale for Philadelphia next fall

Friends and family of Paul Prestbakmo (from left: Barbara Calder, Leah Charles, Jimmy Slater, Angela Prestbakmo and Liz Prestbakmo) gather outside Surrey Provincial Court on Tuesday (Jan. 26, 2021). (Tracy Holmes photo)
South Surrey murder victim stabbed 42 times: pathologist

RCMP digital-evidence specialist also among witnesses

Dr. Penny Ballem, a former deputy health minister, discusses her role in leading B.C.’s COVID-19 vaccination program, at the B.C. legislature, Jan. 22, 2021. (B.C. government)
B.C. holds steady with 407 new COVID-19 cases Tuesday

14 deaths, no new outbreaks in the health care system

(Kraft Dinner/Twitter)
Kraft Dinner launches candy-flavoured mac and cheese just in time for Valentine’s Day

Sweet and cheesy treat will be here just in time for the cheesiest holiday of the year

SAR crews worked late into the night Tuesday to rescue an injured snowboarder in North Vancouver. (Facebook/North Shore Rescue)
Complicated, dangerous rescue saves man in avalanche near Cypress Mountain

North Shore SAR team braves considerable conditions to reach injured snowboarder

A Cessna 170 airplane similar to the one pictured above is reported to be missing off the waters between Victoria and Washington State. Twitter photo/USCG
UPDATE: No sign of small plane that went down in waters south of Vancouver Island

Searchers out on both sides of border between Victoria and Port Angeles

In this undated image made from a video taken by the Duke of Sussex and posted on @SaveChildrenUK by the Duke of Sussex and Meghan, Duchess of Sussex, shows the Duchess of Sussex reading the book “Duck! Rabbit!” to their son Archie who celebrates his first birthday on Wednesday May 6, 2020. The Canadian Paediatric Society is reminding families that the process of raising a reader starts from birth. (Duke of Sussex/@SaveChildrenUK)
Canadian Paediatric Society says raising a reader starts from birth

CPS says literacy is one of the strongest predictors of lifelong health outcomes

Employment, Workforce Development and Disability Inclusion Minister Carla Qualtrough responds to a question during a news conference Thursday August 20, 2020 in Ottawa. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Easing rules for parental benefits created inequities among parents, documents say

Employment Minister Carla Qualtrough’s office says the government will make any necessary changes

People walk along a pedestrianized zone of Sainte-Catherine street in Montreal, Monday, May 18, 2020, as the COVID-19 pandemic continues in Canada and around the world. Newly released statistics point to a major drop in police-recorded crime during the first eight months of the COVID-19 pandemic. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Graham Hughes
Crime down in first 8 months of pandemic, but mental health calls rise: StatCan

The agency says violent crimes such as assault dropped significantly

Cowichan Tribes chief Squtxulenhuw (William Seymour) confirmed the first death in the First Nations community from COVID-19. (File photo)
Cowichan Tribes confirms 1st death amid growing COVID-19 outbreak

Shelter-in-place order has been extended to Feb. 5

(Pixabay)
B.C. teacher gets 1 day suspension after ‘aggressively’ throwing dumbbell at student

Documents show the weight would have hit the student if they didn’t catch it

Most Read