This restaurant is hotter than Sriracha. From left: Will McMillan

The Curry Bowl receives national recognition

The Food Network has recognized Fernie’s Curry Bowl as one of the best roadside eateries in Canada.

The Food Network has recognized Fernie’s Curry Bowl as one of the best roadside eateries in Canada.

“In the winter, pull over and get your fix of spicy Bombay chicken or beef curry bowls in this quaint little mountain town (they’ve got great skiing here, too). When the snow melts away, The Curry Bowl can be equally appealing with fresh-tasting Asian dishes like salad rolls, agedashi tofu and more,” wrote Food Network writer Dan Clapson.

The restaurant has made Clapson’s list of “10 Highway Hotspots to Try On Your Canadian Road Trip,” which was published on Jan. 14.  The blog list features small restaurants from all over Canada that he classifies as “hidden gems”.

Doug McDougall, owner of the Curry Bowl, was surprised by the recognition. He didn’t even know about it until he was tagged in a post on social media.

“I never met the guy at all; it was a complete surprise. An old employee came across the article first and just tagged me in it on Facebook,” said McDougall.

The Curry Bowl’s menu features a variety of dishes, including curries, noodles and rice bowls.  McDougall thinks the restaurant’s most popular dish is the pad thai, noting that cooks get more orders for that dish than any other.

McDougall took over the restaurant in 2012. His transition from cook to owner over the past four years has come with a new set of challenges.

“I’m definitely from the cooking side and I threw myself into the business side. It was a big shock to me and I’m learning as I go. I have been cooking since I was 18, straight out of high school to cooking school and to cooking,” said McDougall. “I was working at the Northern before I took over the Curry Bowl. I heard it was for sale so I went for the business opportunity and next thing I knew it was mine.  All of a sudden I had 15 employees looking at me asking what to do next and I had no idea.”

While the restaurant has had a fair amount of tweaking and developing over the years, it has paid off, and the Food Network recognizes that too.