New steakhouse at Elite site

The new owner of Penticton's old Elite restaurant is looking forward to opening the doors of a re-vamped, casual steakhouse at the location this spring. 

"We have some elements, particularly design elements that Penticton hasn't seen yet," said Fred Trainor, who has been purposefully keeping his windows blocked and renovations plans under wraps until everything is ready. 

The iconic neon Elite sign will be getting a makeover, but won't be removed.

"I think I'd be run out of town if I took the sign down. It would not even enter my mind. The sign stays, but it won't say Elite Cafe," said Trainor, who has lived in Penticton for 40 years. "We're going to re-skin it. It will say 'Block 300 Casual Steakhouse.'"

The Elite sign was the last neon sign grandfathered in after neon was outlawed in the 1970s by Penticton city council. Its light has been dimmed since the Elite was sold in November, and Trainor said LED lights will be replacing the old look.

"I get it, I know how iconic that sign is," he said.

The Block 300 steakhouse will "fill a void" in Penticton's cuisine scene according to Trainor, offering affordable but high quality meals.

"It seems to me that when a lot of people hear steakhouse they say 'Oh, that's going to be expensive,'" Trainor said. "Our mantra is we will set the bar high, and we will set the prices as low as we can."

He plans to offer full lunch and dinner, as well as quick 30 minute in-and-out meals. 

Trainor has hired a chef who he says has extensive experience in the winery industry in the Penticton area.

The restaurant will be open seven days a week, 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. They plan to have a soft opening at the end of April. 

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