The Wake Up Jake Coffee Saloon – An Exciting Business Opportunity

Barkerville Historic Town is looking for a creative restaurateur or chef to develop a unique British Columbian culinary experience with a distinct Cariboo Gold Rush flavour. The Wake Up Jake Coffee Saloon should endeavour to interpret the essence of late-19th century cuisine, including standard gold rush fare, for the palates of a 21st century family.

Barkerville Historic Town is currently seeking expressions of interest and statements of qualifications and experience for the operation of the Wake Up Jake Coffee Saloon.  The successful proponent will:

  • Be a creative individual willing to work hard to build an innovative and exceptional product
  • Show an ability to bring together a reliable management team containing a strong blend of business and culinary skills
  • Craft an atmosphere reminiscent of a ‘more refined’ establishment in Barkerville during the 19th-century gold rush through creative décor, costuming, presentation of staff, etc.
  • Develop a menu that is both distinctive and appealing to 21st century visitors, while at the same time having clear historical links to 19th century British Columbia – from the availability of certain ingredients, to the manner of service and presentation of the time, to the cultural backgrounds of the  proprietors, or to other culinary trends of the times (for example, the introduction of curries to England that came about during the colonial presence in India)
  • Present menu options that will provide the best value possible, and appeal to visitors throughout an assortment of global economic circumstances
  • Develop a menu and atmosphere that can maintain strong local and regional support through initiatives such as excellent coffee and breakfast specials, staff and contractor incentive programs, or packaged dinner and theatre specials
  • Provide excellent references

The Wells-Barkerville-Bowron Lakes area (www.wellsbc.com) is a renowned tourism destination, home to Bowron Lake Provincial Park, Barkerville Historic Town, the Wells-Barkerville Mountain Trails Network, and a variety of year-round outdoor recreational opportunities and wilderness adventures, including hiking, trail riding and mountain biking (www.wellsbarkervilletrails.com), camping, canoeing and kayaking, wildlife viewing, Alpine and Nordic skiing (www.trollresort.com), snowmobiling (www.snowmobilewells.com), and more.  

The small mountain community of Wells, British Columbia has also gained a reputation as a world-class cultural and artistic destination, complete with vibrant building facades, abundant art galleries, two live professional theatres (www.sunset-theatre.com and www.theatreroyal.ca), the Island Mountain Arts School of the Arts (www.imarts.com), and the extraordinary ArtsWells Festival (www.artswells.com).

Barkerville Historic Town (www.barkerville.ca and www.barkervilleisfun.ca), located just 8km from Wells, is owned by the Province of British Columbia and managed by the Barkerville Heritage Trust, a registered charity.  Barkerville’s social and economic significance as the centre of the 1860s Cariboo Gold Rush – which solidified British dominion over the west coast and strongly contributed to the formation ofCanada as a sovereign nation “from sea to sea” – was recognized in 1923 when the entire settlement was designated a National Historic Site of Canada.  Barkerville remained a boom and bust gold mining town until 1958, at which time its citizens convinced the Government of British Columbia to make Barkerville a protectedProvincialPark.  Barkerville is the now largest “living history” heritage attraction in westernNorth America.  Today more than 100 heritage buildings remain, brought to life by period and museum displays, costumed historical interpreters, the cast and crew of the Theatre Royal and a variety of exhilarating visitor experiences such as gold-panning, blacksmithing, and stagecoach rides. 

The Wake Up Jake Coffee Saloon first opened in Barkerville in the early 1860s, and operated into the 1870s.  In 1960, a reproduction building was constructed on the original site that closely resembled a photo taken in 1871, in order to house a 60+ seat, Victorian-style restaurant.  The Wake Up Jake now operates as a private business withinBarkerville Historic Town, and its facilities are provided by the Barkerville Heritage Trust in return for a percentage of the gross annual revenues of its operation (althoughBarkerville Historic Town is open May to September, off-season catering opportunities may be developed).

A response is required by the closing date of Monday, October 31st, 2011 to be placed on the Qualified Bidders’ List.  For more information, please contact Matthias Koch, Corporate Services Manager, at matthias.koch@barkerville.ca, or phone 1-888-994-3332, ext. 28.