When some people turn 40, they buy themselves a new motorcycle or take a trip. Stewart Glynes bought himself his own business. Stewart has been the Bench Market’s executive chef since 2010, so when the opportunity of ownership presented itself shortly before his birthday this fall, Stewart and his wife Heather decided to go for it. “It’s every chef’s life-long dream to own their own restaurant,” says Stewart. “It’s going to be a family affair. I’d love to see my kids behind the counter one day.”
Stewart knows what makes The Bench one of Penticton’s favourite social hangouts. So Eggs Benedict; savoury sandwiches with braised meats and roasted vegetables; rich baked goods and Summerland-roasted coffee are staying on the menu. “Our food appeals to our customers because it reminds them of home-cooking, but with a twist. Our dishes have a fusion of Asian, Indian and North American flavours presented in a familiar vessel like a sandwich,” says Stewart.
Also staying: the eclectic variety of groceries that includes everything from fresh-baked bread and eggs to olive oils, specialty cheeses and crackers and quality dressings.
To connect with more locals, the Glynes are making a few changes. The Bench is now open an hour earlier (at 7 am) on weekdays to catch morning commuters, and will offer an expanded selection of take-home meals including oven-ready healthy pizzas, pastas and soups.
“Tourists are great in the summer, but the locals are also an extremely important part of what makes us go. We’re listening to what their needs are, and making sure our shelves are stocked with items they’re looking for,” says Stewart.
Catering to the locals also means maintaining a homey atmosphere that’s welcoming for everyone. Friendly staff, comfortable chairs and tables, décor by Okanagan artists and pleasing background music make lunch with friends or on your own a delightful and satisfying experience.
~ Erin Trainer