First Look: Opus Café Bistro in Penticton

Terri and Michael Surdzis. Photo by Scott Trudeau

When Terri and Michael Surdzis purchased what is known as Opus Cafe Bistro in Penticton they wanted to offer their customers a cozy and comfortable setting and a mix of affordable cultural delights. Terri was working for the previous owners when she met her husband, Michael. With her background in catering and entertainment and Michael’s ties to the restaurant industry beginning when he was a teenager, one might have speculated their future together. In fact, the couple was married there in 2006 when it was known as The Cannery Coffee House.


Because they already own and operate a mobile food concession service, they questioned taking on an ambitious endeavour at their ages (Terri is 53; Michael is 50). But when an opportunity came along for them to purchase the business, they couldn’t let it slip away.  They signed the lease on the business their fourth wedding anniversary.


In addition to his kitchen duties, Michael oversees the daily business, promotions and specials while Terri takes care of items such as menu ideas and desserts. Their signature menu item is the Gyros Donair, stacked with lamb, chicken or beef that’s been slow-cooked to a tasty tenderness on a vertical rotisserie.


Customers can choose from a menu with Mexican, Hawaiian, Asian, Italian and Greek dishes all prepared with from-scratch sauces plus homemade soups and baking. Their decor is friendly, warm and relaxing—a purposeful decision on Terri’s part. “It was going to be my living and dining room—that comes from the heart of wanting to entertain,” she said. “We wanted to show people that hospitality wasn’t dead. There’s a lot of heart and soul here.”


Opus is fully licensed offering up drink features amid relaxing candlelight dinners. Soon they’ll resume featuring regular entertainment. “I think people are looking for a rustic, village-style dining experience,” said Michael, who admitted the busy, pressure-packed pace of restaurant ownership is fused into his character. “I’m in it because it’s my passion,” he said. “Until I retire, this is what I’ll be doing.”


Good food. Good times. Good company.




Opus Cafe Bistro is located in The Cannery on Duncan Avenue.

Hours are Mondays and Tuesdays from 8 a.m. – 6 p.m., Wednesday to Saturday from 8 a.m. – 10 p.m. and Sundays from 10 a.m. – 4 p.m. Opus offers a Sunday brunch from 10 a.m. – 1 p.m.


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