Gail Patterson

Gail Patterson, 59, is business partner with Bob Lumley in the successful Ogden Point Café and the brand-new Rail Yards Café beside the Galloping Goose Trail in Vic West.

On her own, she took over the downtown YMCA restaurant this year, did extensive renovations, and reopened as the Y-Knot Café.
Born in Winnipeg, Gail came to Victoria in 1980 and worked a variety of jobs, from server at White Spot and the old Westwind beer parlour in Langford to legal secretary. She loves to travel: New Zealand, Cape Cod, and Bermuda were destinations this year. Ogden Point Café marked its tenth anniversary this fall, and Patterson is still in awe at its early rapid growth and continuing success. “I’m still amazed at the number of people who say, ‘I love it there.’”

What did you learn from running a restaurant?

“I learned to delegate. That was the big part. There are now seven people doing what Bob and I did. I had a tough time letting go.”

Why are you expanding the business?

“We think that we’re good at it. In ten years, there hadn’t been a project I thought similar
[to Ogden Point] but the Railyards was it.”

{advertisement} What advice would you give to someone with an idea for a business?

“A lot of people say they always wanted to own a restaurant, until you run one … It’s high maintenance.”

What is the major difference from ten years ago?

“Finding good, competent staff, and we never pay minimum wage.”

Would you do it all again?

“Yes … because it was a hell of a ride. It’s a rush. It used to bug me when people would say ‘how lucky you are.’ Have you ever noticed how hard-working lucky people are? For the first three years, Bob and I worked seventeen hours a day, seven days a week. The other awesome thing is knowing people like it. Ogden Point is supposed to be the top place for online dates to meet.”

Anything you’d do differently?

“I’d probably make the kitchen bigger right at the start.”

Words of wisdom?

“The key to sticking with this is what a friend said, ‘Be patient, polite, and persistent and you will get what you want.’ I wasn’t always polite, and I wasn’t always patient, but I didn’t give up. Don’t give up. Having been through all that, I know now there’s always a way.”