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Third in the Okanagan, 30th in Canada: Cactus Club opens in Vernon this fall

The company is looking to hire almost 200 staff
Head chef Adam Shannon and general manager Kelsey Matheson of Vernon Cactus Club.

It will soon be the Okanagan’s third Cactus Club Cafe and with that, the company has decided to make it truly reflect the region.

Leading Vernon’s newest restaurant are two managers who represent the Okanagan well. General manager Kelsey Matheson is born and raised in the Okanagan, a West Kelowna Mount Boucherie graduate who has worked for Cactus Club for more than 10 years between the two Kelowna locations.

Head chef Adam Shannon has just moved his family from Kelowna to Vernon to open the restaurant after working at various Cactus Club locations for more than seven years.

“I started dish washing at a restaurant right out of high school and I just fell in love with cooking and people, the industry and the rush,” said Shannon.

Now the two are bringing that energy to Vernon as they look to hire almost 200 staff, with 100 front-of-house employees and 60 in the kitchen.

The menu will be designed from the test kitchen based in Vancouver, with the same favourites that Cactus Club regulars love.

Head chef Adam Shannon of Vernon’s Cactus Club.
Head chef Adam Shannon of Vernon’s Cactus Club.

“There will be about 20 to 30 staff working in the kitchen at any given time,” explained Shannon. “I am hiring people who this might be their first job and it’s working in our dish area, so I want to make sure they have a good experience and they know what goes into a kitchen. It’s more than doing dishes, it’s supporting the whole kitchen.”

The Vernon Cactus Club will also double as a teaching kitchen supporting culinary students as well as other university students who are working to put themselves through school.

Cactus Club is based on casual fine dining and is considered one of North America’s fastest-growing restaurant groups with 29 locations across Canada, making Vernon No. 30.

“Our vision for this store is just to create community by developing a restaurant where locals and visitors want to be year-round,” said Matheson.

New to the company this year comes out of a partnership with the sommelier for Cactus Club and Tantalus Winery in Kelowna to create a signature chardonnay.

The Vernon Cactus Club will have a year-round patio that will have operable glass walls that can open and close. The lounge area of the restaurant will seat 75 guests, with 125 in the dining area and 50 on the patio, with seasonal patio space for 15 seats, for a total of 250 guests. There are also 68 parking stalls outside the restaurant with extra parking across the lot.

There will be a special take-out section of the restaurant where delivery drivers and those wanting food to go can grab their grub.

The Vernon Cactus Club Cafe will be open seven days a week and is located in the former Temptasian restaurant at 5600 Anderson Way.

Opening date is set for sometime this fall.

General manager Kelsey Matheson of Vernon Cactus Club.
General manager Kelsey Matheson of Vernon Cactus Club.

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Jen Zielinski

About the Author: Jen Zielinski

Graduated from the broadcast journalism program at BCIT. Also holds a bachelor of arts degree in political science and sociology from Thompson Rivers University.
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