Remembering Overtime — Home of Free Coffee Refills and Late Night Dinner Rushes

Photo courtesy Matt Wamsley.

The ever-evolving Restaurant Graveyard series looks back at the many long-gone establishments that helped to propel Victoria’s food and drink forward. Explore the ever-growing A-Z with maps and photos here. If you have photos/stories to share, send to andrew [at]

Overtime was opened in 1988 by an ownership group that included John Cantin (John’s Place), Howie Siegel (Pagliacci’s) and former Vancouver Canuck Geoff Courtnall. The 50 seater was a sports-themed restaurant and bar, predating today’s ubiquity of wall-to-wall flat screen televisions. Here, the walls were decorated in sports memorabilia and the table tops were display cases for baseball cards, hockey game programs and other printed pieces of nostalgia. More popular than televised sports was the jukebox, which featured a diverse selection of CDs; everything from Muddy Waters and REM to Madonna and Depeche Mode. (True story: front of house managers would use a discreet remote to fade out and cancel any jukebox song that might be getting on their nerves.)

Overtime had several personalities. In the daytime, the patrons were an odd mix of divers (there was a dive shop next store), truant coffee-sipping students from Victoria High School, and first responder rank and file. With Memorial Arena right next door, the evenings would see lots of pre-game and post-game diners, plus the occasional rush of concert-goers. But late nights – after all the other restaurants and bars in the city had closed – is when Overtime (open until 3am) would get especially crazy. A small army of drunks, partiers, and hospitality staff would bumrush the place for the kitchen’s last call. Food-wise, the menu was all over the place, but popular standouts included deep fried squid, basmati rice balls stuffed with cubes of edam, bowls of Thai noodle soup, and uplifting espresso milkshakes.

Overtime was sold in 1995 and would eventually be gutted to become a Korean restaurant called BQs. It didn’t last long, and the property would eventually be demolished and transitioned into a succession of car dealerships. None survived.

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There are 18 comments
  1. So many fantastic memories at this place. I hung out there religiously during the time it was open, and it was truly a hub of Victoria’s youth culture at a point. Something very special happened there for a while, and the youngsters who hung out there know what I mean. A simple restaurant that had the energy of a social club. My go-to on the jukebox was Lisa Stanfield “People Hold On”. Great track. Peace! RF

  2. I was all about picking the 10 minute songs to make my loonies last. Riviera Paradise by SRV, The End by The Doors, Can’t You Hear Me Knocking by The Rolling Stones. I’d own the dinner rush for a couple bucks. 😉

  3. Loved that place. Joe kept me from starving there during the winter of ‘93. Fries and cheese.

  4. Thanks Andrew for the nostalgia rush… What an extraordinary time in my life. I’m ever so grateful to John & Kenny for giving me a chance to hang out with the cool kids. I was way out of my element, and have no regrets! 😀

  5. I loved working there. Was so much fun. Chicken fajitas were my fav. And Yonny hope your doing well. 🙂

  6. I only ever did 3 or 4 of them, but Overtime double-shifts were the worst grinders I ever endured in my life.

  7. Some of my best college-time memories! Chang Mai noodle soup and lots of homemade OT bread, and those rice balls were killer-good. We spent hours upon hours in those booths, both pre- and post-bar. (Capones, anyone?) Was so sad when they closed. It was the end of a mini-era.

  8. Man, I did work experience there in 1993. Got the job through S.J Willis’ program. Was a prep / dishwasher. Ken was the cook, and I admit, it was a fun place to work, and I really enjoyed the staff. I bought so much beer, and pizza with my paycheques.

  9. I remember waiting patiently for a table in the smoking section to come free with some friends in ’91 or ’92. Just as we were about to finally get seated Geoff Courtnall came in via the kitchen and snaked our table. That started me on a spiteful hating of every team he ever played for…

  10. Late night soup! Non stop smoking.
    Stabbed my first dude with a fork there.
    And endless overtime coffee…

  11. Worked at the White Spot during university and so many wonderful nights Steve and I would find ourselves here at 1 am, me learning how to drink whiskey on the rocks and eating some kind of pulled pork sandwich, and the damn fine cheesecake.

  12. Great picture of Megan. Loved this place. I spent all my time between OT and John’s place. Under pressure was my favourite song on the Jukebox and only ever had fries and coffee.

  13. So much YES!! Wow… Blast from the past right there. Spent many an afternoon, as well as nights there. Copious amounts of free coffee refills and fries n’ gravy on the cheap! Amazing the memories this brought back. All good, happiness and youth. Days long past lol.

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