Sooke’s original ‘Mom’

Jean Lewis was the original cook at now popular diner, Mom's Cafe

While the café built by Howard Lewis in 1963 across from the Sooke Community Hall was first called ‘Joker’s Grill’ it has enjoyed a long history as ‘Mom’s Café.’ A landmark in town today – but when the place was built, this widespread community boasted perhaps a total of 4,000 residents.

The new eatery at the corner of Sheilds and Eustace meant there were now two downtown diners, as the restaurant at the corner of Sooke Road and Townsend had been established at the end of World War II.

Howard Lewis’ wife Jean is seen here in 1949 with baby Lenore, an All Sooke Day baby show winner. When Lenore Lewis entered her teens, she, like most teenagers, looked for a place to hang out, and was excited that her parents were building a restaurant. Also like many teenaged girls, Lenore was crazy about horses and especially her horse called ‘Joker.’

Was it any wonder then, that the café was first given the name Joker’s Grill? Jean Lewis, the original mom’s cook, had some restaurant background, which included working for Madame Marie Lavertu at Sooke Harbour House. One of the specialties that built the restaurant’s reputation was pan-fried oysters. Another has been the legendary mile-high pies. Lenore, now married to Eric Blight and a resident of Vancouver, remembers that meals were sold at an all-inclusive price for dinner, dessert and coffee, and that her mom went to special trouble for kiddies, making ‘baby platters.’

The restaurant has changed hands many times since then.  Among succeeding owners were Karl Gage, the Broomfields and of course, Bill and Rikey Wiley, who as Mom’s Café proprietors in more recent decades, became a fixture in themselves.

Since the proprietorship of Tom and Elaine Dee, renovations have taken place once more, but the place still serves as a hangout.  Perhaps not so much for teenagers anymore, but as a gathering place to catch up on the news over coffee and for fishermen to swap stories, as it continues to be a hub of the community. There’s always been a ‘mom’ to provide that special care.

Elida Peers,

Historian

 

Sooke Region Museum

 

 

Just Posted

Gun, drugs and cash seized in arrest of alleged Victoria fentanyl dealer

Brent Connors is facing nine charges in relation to the investigation

Sooke Road bus pullouts now operational, says province

Pullouts are located at the West Shore Parkway, Laidlaw Road and Harbourview Road

SOOKE HISTORY: T’Sou-ke and Pacheedaht paddlers

Elida Peers | Contributed This 1993 photo taken by Angela Bailey when… Continue reading

PHOTOS: Oak Bay police officers rescue baby seal found on rocky shoreline

Marina Mammal Rescue Centre recommends residents observe from a distance

B.C. man (pick up truck, Lucky Beer poster, and all) revels in return to Esquimalt

Rear-Admiral Bob Auchterlonie assumed command of the Maritime Forces Pacific

Victoria Ska and Reggae Fest fills harbour with music

Music festival wraps with free party Sunday at Ship Point

WEB POLL: Should illegal immigrants be separated from their children?

Should illegal immigrants be separated from their children?… Continue reading

5 fun things to do this weekend in Greater Victoria

Victoria Ska and Reggae Fest, Ride Don’t Hide, Cordova Bay Day and more

Vancouver Canucks tab Quinn Hughes with No. 7 overall pick in NHL draft

University of Michigan standout was second defenceman picked in first round

Jogger spent two weeks in U.S. detention centre after accidentally crossing B.C. border

Cedella Roman, 19, crossed the border while out for a run

B.C. woman with severely disabled son keeps getting parking tickets

‘There has to be something they could do’

Man brandishes axe during robbery

Mounties were able to locate the suspect within two hours of the incident

‘Creep off’ reporting system aims to track street harassment in Metro Vancouver

Text-based hotline launches to collect public reports on where and when harassment occurs

Happy ending for orphaned bear cubs

Two orphaned bear cubs were captured in Castlegar and sent for rehabilitation.

Most Read