Dennis Springenatic’s family has owned and operated the Round Up Cafe in Whalley for more than 60 years. “The pandemic is destroying a lot of people, especially smaller businesses like this,” he says. A fence now surrounds the front of the diner to keep people from gathering under the awning when the restaurant is closed. (Photo: Tom Zillich)

Dennis Springenatic’s family has owned and operated the Round Up Cafe in Whalley for more than 60 years. “The pandemic is destroying a lot of people, especially smaller businesses like this,” he says. A fence now surrounds the front of the diner to keep people from gathering under the awning when the restaurant is closed. (Photo: Tom Zillich)


Surrey’s Round Up Cafe is set to close forever, after 60 years of feeding community

The pandemic is ‘100 per cent the reason it’s closing,’ co-owner Dennis Springenatic says

** This story has been updated

Surrey’s landmark Round Up Cafe is set to close forever.

The doors of the small Whalley restaurant will shut for good “probably by the end of the month,” according to co-owner Dennis Springenatic, whose family has owned and operated the diner for more than 60 years.

The ongoing pandemic is “100 per cent the reason it’s closing,” Springenatic said Tuesday (April 13).

“Before the pandemic, we were rocking it, very busy — lined up out the door on Saturdays and Sundays,” he said.

“Even when we opened up again in December, we got some business back – still struggling but, you know, breaking even and enough to keep going and maybe wait until the pandemic is over. But now with this current shutdown, that’s three weeks but probably going to get extended, right.”

• RELATED STORY: Landmark Surrey diner set to reopen after lengthy closure caused by COVID.

In early December, after close to eight months of closure, the Round Up reopened.

Recently, in line with provincial health orders, the restaurant has offered outdoor patio and takeout service, but no dining inside. “We have a few tables out front, and they’ll stay there until we’re closed,” Springenatic noted.

“The pandemic is destroying a lot of people, especially smaller businesses like this,” he added. “With the dining room closed and only doing takeout for such a long time, that’s impossible unless you’ve got super deep pockets.”

• RELATED STORY, from February 2020: New book rounds up stories about landmark Surrey diner.

(Story continues below)

For decades, the Round Up has been a gathering spot in Whalley. Springenatic’s parents, Orest and Goldie, bought the diner in 1959 and turned it into a hub for Canadian-Ukrainian meals, and more.

Prior to his death in 1995, at age 69, Orest was a trailblazer with Whalley Little League, and the restaurant became a post-game magnet for baseball players and their families, among many others in the community.

“People still tell me how my dad coached them and they’d come to the restaurant with their families, play music on the old jukeboxes, all those stories,” Springenatic said.

“Other people talk about leaving the Dell or the Flamingo (bars) at two o’clock in the morning and seeing my dad there, working the nightshift, having him serving them, those memories.”

• RELATED STORY, from 2016: For 60 years, Whalley Little League has packed a wallop; Iconic youth baseball organization marks a milestone anniversary.

Looking ahead, there’s talk of renting the space to a cooking school, but plans are not firm.

Springenatic said his sister Colette is the primary hands-on owner of the restaurant these days, with Goldie having taken a step back. The diner is located in the heritage-registered Goodmanson building, constructed in 1949, mid-block on King George Boulevard, south of 105th Avenue.

“We’re still a few years away from selling,” Springenatic said, “but who knows, that could change if someone offers us the right money next week, then we’ll sell. That hasn’t happened yet, so right now we need to rent the building out to pay the property taxes.”

Round Up manager Tanya Abendroth has been employed at the restaurant for 45 years, and has plans to retire.

“It’s not easy to do,” Abendroth said, “but my husband and I bought a house in West Kelowna and we’re moving up there, where our boys are, and the kids really want us there.

“Now it’s time to spend more time with family, you know. I never really took time to be with our kids when they were young, and now I’ll have that time. I’ve got to move on with my life while I’m still able to do that.”

• READ MORE, from 2015: WHALLEY’S CORNER: Surrey’s Round-Up Café takes you back in time.

Like us on Facebook Follow us on Instagram and follow Tom on Twitter

fast foodrestaurant

Just Posted

Surrey Mayor delivering “virtual” State of the City Address on Tuesday. (Screen shot)
Surrey Mayor says city is ‘earning accolades from near and far’

Doug McCallum delivered his second State of the City Address on Tuesday since being elected in 2018

North Surrey Sport and Ice Complex. (Photo:
North Surrey rink, Newton playground earn B.C. excellence awards

Awards presented by BC Recreation and Parks Association

Delta council began with an Indigenous land acknowledgement for the first time on Monday, May 10, 2021.
Delta council opens first meeting with Indigenous land acknowledgement

Acknowledgment will be read at the start of each council/committee meeting and City of Delta event

Surrey Fire Service battled a fire at an apartment building in Fleetwood late Friday night (May 14), near 84th Avenue and 160th Street. (Photo: Shane MacKichan)
Surrey firefighters collecting donations for people displaced by Fleetwood apartment fire

Fleetwood BIA, community association also band together for donations, help

A prowling coyote proved no match for a stray black cat who chased it out of a Port Moody parking lot Friday, May 14. (Twitter/Screen grab)
VIDEO: Cat who chases away coyote asked to join Port Moody, Vancouver police 

Caught on camera Friday, the black cat jumps out from under a parked car and runs the wild animal out of a vacant lot

A forest of dance-protesters outside the BC Legislature on April 11. These participants were doing the Dance for the Ancient Forest in support of the Fairy Creek blockade and against old-growth logging. (Zoë Ducklow/News Staff)
Arrests begin at Fairy Creek blockade on Vancouver Island

Five protesters arrested as RCMP begin to enforce injunction

A thunderstorm pictured in Fraser Valley in 2021. (Black Press Media/Jaimie Grafstrom)
Wildfire concerns sparked after 320+ lightning strikes blasted B.C. yesterday

Approximately one-quarter of the province is currently listed as being at moderate risk of fire

The Combined Forces Special Enforcement Unit released a poster Tuesday, May 18 featuring the names and photos of more suspects involved in the Lower Mainland gang conflict.
Police issue warning for 8 more men involved in Lower Mainland gang conflict

B.C.’s gang task force says it’s expecting ‘violence to continue and escalate’

A restaurant server on White Rock’s Marine Drive serves customers on a roadside patio. Indoor dining and recreational travel bans have been in effect since late March in B.C. (Peace Arch News)
B.C.’s COVID-19 infection rate falls to 411 cases Tuesday

360 people in hospital, up slightly, two more deaths

The Banff National Park entrance is shown in Banff, Alta., Tuesday, March 24, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jeff McIntosh
Minister asks Canadians to camp carefully in national parks as season starts

Kitchen shelters in Banff National Park closed, trails on Vancouver Island will only be one-way

Names of those aboard the ship are seen at Komagata Maru monument in downtown Vancouver, on Tuesday, May 18, 2021. The City of Vancouver has issued an apology for its racist role in denying entry to 376 passengers aboard a ship that was forced to return to India over a century ago. Mayor Kennedy Stewart says discrimination by the city had “cruel effects” on the Sikhs, Hindus and Muslims aboard the Komagata Maru, which arrived in Burrard Inlet on May 23, 1914. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
Vancouver mayor says sorry for city’s role in turning away South Asians in 1914

Kennedy Stewart has declared May 23 as the annual Komagata Maru Day of Remembrance

A crew of WestCoast WILD Adventures employees tackled an onslaught of litter left at the ‘Locks of Love’ fence at Wally Creek on May 2. (Anne-Marie Gosselin photo)
Litter woes consume popular ‘Locks of Love’ fence on B.C.’s Pacific Rim

Popular view spot near Tofino plagued by people hanging masks and other unwanted garbage

Vincent Doumeizel, senior advisor at the United Nations Global Compact on Oceans, as well as director for the Food Programme for the Lloyd’s Register Foundation, pulls up some sugar kelp seaweed off the French coast in April 2020. He was the keynote speaker during the opening ceremony of the inaugural Seaweed Days Festival. (Vincent Doumeizel/Submitted)
Let’s hear it for seaweed: slimy, unsexy and the world’s greatest untapped food source

Experts talks emerging industry’s challenges and potential at Sidney inaugural Seawood Days Festival

Most Read