First Look: The Okanagan’s Routes Grill

 “They’re living the dream. To be specific: their dream.”

bottom left: Jeff and Cody Kreklau. bottom right: Fish Taco

bottom left: Jeff and Cody Kreklau. bottom right: Fish Taco


Timing couldn’t have been more perfect for Jeff and Cody Kreklau. In early 2012, a small restaurant was put up for sale in the community where they had been living for three years – something the couple had been dreaming would happen. After a conversation with a fellow chef who shared their dream, along with elbow grease and menu planning, Routes Grill opened its doors in April 2012. With a family atmosphere, comfort food at fine dining quality and reasonable prices, the 50-seat restaurant is off to a booming start.


Along with the Kreklau’s, Routes Grill is owned and run by Jeff’s longtime friend Michael Coates, an alumni from culinary school days. Between the trio there is more than 30 years experience in the restaurant and food service industry. Jeff and Michael’s expertise comes from working in fine dining and Okanagan restaurants such as Cabana Grille, Gray Monk Winery and Sparkling Hill. Cody brings her 15 years of working in restaurants around the world to their table.


The restaurant is located on Highway 97 in Lake Country, a 20 minute drive north of Kelowna. With a population of approximately 12,000 people, Lake Country features a strong agricultural and viticulture base and a fierce sense of community; a perfect setting for a small, family owned restaurant to plant some roots and establish a loyal following. This, according to Jeff, is the genesis of the name: Routes Grill, “It’s a play on words. Our location: we are right on the highway so ‘en route’. We have our roots here, our family is here and our menu is rooted here in the community.”


Like most restaurants in the Okanagan, Routes Grill focuses on local sourcing for its menu. Suppliers such as Lake Country Culinary Farms are only steps away. But what is less common is that customers are also participating in the food sourcing. “A lot of our customers just drop off food,” explained Jeff. “They’ll come in and drop off tomatoes and say ‘we’re coming in for dinner tomorrow night, see what you can do’.” It’s the kind of neighbourly thing that happens regularly, where the owners have worked hard to create a homey atmosphere. “When you come to this restaurant you really are coming to my home” says Cody as she stops by our table. Cody may be the owner but she’s also serving the tables and getting to know everybody who walks through the door.

It’s a labour of love. The restaurant is open seven days a week, lunch and dinner; Jeff and Cody are there six of those days. “We are open from 11:30 to 2pm for lunch and then we shut down for two hours to prep for dinner. Everything is made in-house, from scratch,” says Jeff. “Our heart and our passion is comfort food.” That passion is reflected in the menu; soups and salads, pizzas and burgers and of course mac & cheese.  But you’ll also find things like Wild Boar Ragu, Braised Lamb Shank and a flourless chocolate cake, one of Jeff’s mother’s recipes. “We wanted to take our knowledge of cooking fine cuisine and put it into simple food done extremely well. This is our dream,” smiles Jeff, “We’re living it.”


—By Jessica Samuels


Routes Grill
#4, 10058 HWY 97
Lake Country, BC
(250) 766-0777


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