Chuffin serving good food and memories

As Parksville’s Chuffin Cafe hits its 27th anniversary — “120 in Chuffin years” the owner jokes — they are as busy as ever.

From left

As Parksville’s Chuffin Cafe hits its 27th anniversary — “120 in Chuffin years” the owner jokes — they are as busy as ever.

“We’ve survived everything, nothing could stop us now,” said Gayna Thompson who started the restaurant with her parents Rhoda and George Thompson in 1987.

She admits to ups and downs over the years, but the family operation has adapted and survived.

The biggest shift came in 1994 with a complete re-design and the addition of their famous nostalgia theme, complete with hundreds of photos of the biggest film and music stars of the last 100 years, focused on the mid-century.

She said it’s surprising how often someone comes in with a story about an encounter, or working with one of the featured stars, like one guy who took John Wayne on a chauffeured camping trip.

“Music wise my first love is the Beatles,” Gayna said of her favourite posters.

She is also fond of Mae West and WC Fields, the restaurant’s mascots.

Gayna has always been involved in music and they used to have regular live shows, but today she organizes events away from the restaurant, including the tribute festival at the Parksville Community Centre May 23-25 with the likes of Marilyn Monroe, Roy Orbison, Garth Brooks, The Judds, Everly Brothers, selveral Elvi and others. Visit for more.

The Chuffin opened as a typical 1980s diner with all the stylings of the era, including, “oh god all that burnt orange, it was kid proof, my father loved that burnt orange,” said Gayna.

George is no longer around, but Rhoda is still busy in the family biz, and her granddaughter Alycia — who literally grew up in the restaurant — is now the main server.

Gayna said she is trying to ease up on her workload these days but isn’t doing a good job of that.

She said she still loves meeting so many different people and hearing all the nice stories.

The Chuffin Cafe is open 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. Monday to Friday and 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. Saturday on Craig Street, behind the Royal Bank.

Just Posted

Parksville roundtable highlights need for affordable housing, recreation

Mayor Ed Mayne held facilitated event in January to hear visions for city, council

Second delivery of building units for 222 Corfield in Parksville arrives March 21

Vehicles should expect intermittent single-lane alternating traffic

Public input sought on proposed cannabis retail store in Coombs

Application to be reviewed by Regional District of Nanaimo

Two nature-inspired artists display oil paintings at Qualicum gallery

Judy Maxwell and Lloyd Major depict scenes of wildlife, landscapes and the west coast

Five highlights in the 2019 federal budget

Latest budget includes a sprinkling of money for voters across a wide spectrum

Cougar on Island might have been shot with bow-and-arrow

Conservation officer service looking for animal near Port Alice

Facebook to overhaul ad targeting to prevent discrimination

The company is also paying about $5 million to cover plaintiffs’ legal fees and other costs

B.C. mosque part of open-house effort launched in wake of New Zealand shootings

The ‘Visit a Mosque’ campaign aims to combat Islamophobia

‘That’s a load of crap’: Dog poop conspiracy spreads in White Rock

Allegation picked up steam through a Facebook page run by a city councillor

Explosives unit brought in after suspicious boxes left at B.C. RCMP detachment

Nanaimo RCMP issues all clear after packages were found on lawn earlier in the day

2019 BUDGET: As deficit grows, feds spend on job retraining, home incentives

Stronger economy last year delivered unexpected revenue bump of an extra $27.8 billion over six years

Newfoundland man caught after posting photo of himself drinking and driving

The 19-year-old took a photo of himself holding a beer bottle and cigarette while at the wheel

Carfentanil found in 15% of overdose deaths in January: B.C. coroner

Carfentanil is 100 times more powerful than illicit fentanyl and used to tranquilize elephants

Most Read