Mountain View School could have slowly deteriorated. The iconic 1914 building, which many locals at some point passed through as students, sat vacant from 2012 until recently.
QUICK HISTORY LESSON
That’s when Gareth Jones — inking a deal with the City and School Board 19 — took ownership of Mountain View. He set to turning it into a craft distillery (Mr. Jones) complete with a spanky restaurant (Old School Eatery). Inside the building was largely a blank slate for what it could be, but with Revelstoke growing in popularity by the day, it meant a major renovation with a lot of attention and pressure not to wipe away years of history like so much writing on a chalkboard.
“I’m trying to preserve the history here. I knew how I wanted it to look,” said Old School owner Chris van der Linden. “I wanted it to look like it was 100 years old – but new.”
Every time an old building is turned into a new anything, you will lose some of the past, but here, he managed to preserve history in a living way.
One of Revy’s mega renos: After 12 months, six building inspectors and numerous unforeseen delays, Chris van der Linden (top) opened Old School Eatery in December. The best seat in the house: From one table you can view four mountains. (Bottom)
CLASS IS IN
Not everyone can say they’ve had a cocktail in their old classroom. The restaurant used to be the classroom of Mr. Matko, a well-liked teacher, who van der Linden plans to eventually name a cocktail after. The joint also features original wainscoting, which he cleaned up but left with a patina of kids’ markings from classes past. The original chalkboard is a blackened drinks menu on the wall. He found some old quill pens behind the walls, which I now suggest he use as martini stir sticks.) He originally wanted to do comfort food, but says, “I thought the space was too sexy to be a diner.” The kitchen does comfort, but with a fine-dining edge. “But by no means are we fine dining. We’re casual. I don’t want it to be stuffy.”
Old School’s name is a double-meaning for its menu of old school food and cocktails. “I wanted it to be ‘old school’ food I haven’t seen on menus in 20 years, like shrimp cocktails and muscles. You don’t see that anymore … Chain restaurants look the same and all serve very similar menus.”
MENU 101 +
“We went a little weird, but not too weird … I tried not to duplicate anywhere in town.” Of course, tons of former students and teachers, young, old and really old, have come by to see the old school. One woman hadn’t been there for 40 years. People come in, peer up at the photos Vander has framed on the walls, and say: Hey that’s me! or, That’s my mom!
This spring, the kitchen shifts to a fresh seasonal menu. Warm tabbouleh salad with zucchini and cauliflower rice, anyone?…