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Looking Back: Meeting and eating at the Panabode
Back when Maple Ridge could boast few restaurants to its name, most people only went out to eat for special occasions or get-togethers.
Since residents ate out so infrequently, they are more than likely to still remember the places that they went.
The Panabode in west Maple Ridge was on the top of many people’s favourite restaurants list.
Owned by the Edmunson family, the Panabode restaurant was built in the same ‘Lincoln log’ style as the Pay and Save gas station, which was first built on the property that would later house this popular restaurant.
The two buildings were located at the convergence of Lougheed Highway and Dewdney Trunk Road, just across the street from the Haney-Pitt Meadows Auction Barn, on the land where the Envision drive-through bank sits now.
The restaurant was a one-level building with a parking lot facing Lougheed Highway.
The west section of the Panabode had a walk-up window, while the east end housed the dining area.
Melanie Able, who had her very first grilled cheese sandwich at the Panabode, remembers the lovely “red and white checkered curtains” in the dining area, along with the “antique oil lamps” that lined the shelves.
The back lawn, which faced Dewdney Trunk Road, included a seating area for warmer days.
“I remember a swing set on the back lawn, and little tables to eat your ice cream in the summer,” Dallas McClung noted.
Long-time resident Louise Luttmer added that “there were beautiful coloured umbrellas over each table” in the picnic area.
“I always loved that; it was so pretty and colourful.”
Known for their Delmonico Steaks, the Panabode also served fish and chips, clubhouse sandwiches, chicken salad, hamburgers, and veal cutlets.
For kiddies, a visit to the Panabode was always a hit, with cola floats, pies and ice cream on the menu.
Mrs. Hildegard, who owned and ran the Panabode after the Edmunsons, was known around town as a great baker, and her pies were second to none.
Well loved by the people who worked for her, Mrs. Hildegard’s employees remember her with great fondness.
“She never fired any of her waitresses the entire time she had the restaurant,” said John Gardner.
The Panabode was more than a restaurant – it was a place to gather with family and friends on the weekend and finish off the week with a good meal in good company.
“It was a real meeting place for many town folk,” said McClung, “especially for weekend breakfast.”
With its ideal location right near the border of Maple Ridge and Pitt Meadows, it was the perfect place for people from the two communities to converge.
After over 20 years in business, both the wooden eatery and the humble little gas station were torn down in the late 1970s to make room for the Safeway development.
However, no one who once sat under the colourful umbrellas in the picnic area has forgotten their time there.
The Maple Ridge Museum and Community Archives is looking for some good photographs of this former landmark.
Another favourite local eatery was the Bamboo Inn, and we have no images of that one, either.
• If you have images that you are willing to share, please contact the museum at 604-4663-5311 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Sandra Borger is a researcher at Maple Ridge Museum.