FFWD REW

Pam Fung Co-owner Lido Cafe

What is Lido Café?

In Chinese the translation is “nice plate” like beautiful plate.

How old is the building?

Oh the building is almost 100 years old.

Wow has the restaurant always been there?

It’s been a restaurant from the start changing names a few times but it’s been Lido for over 70 years.

Is it family-owned?

No just me and my husband and before that we took it from a couple.

How long have you been the owner of the restaurant?

I’ve been here for 24 and a half years I did not get to 25 yet.

Why did you and your husband buy Lido Café?

We were not doing restaurant business at that time but because my family wanted to come over to Canada I needed to get a small business [to make enough money] and hire some staff so I could get my family coming over. It’s worked out well and I’ve been in the business for 24 and a half years since then. I love it.

And the restaurant is closing correct?

Yes.

Why?

It is going to be demolished in the summer and [they are] going to be building an eight-storey condo.

When did you find out about this?

They’ve been talking about that [since] about three years ago. When I got the lease renewed the landlord told me I’ve got nine months. It’s been talking at least two or three years and now it’s about time.

And the building is going to be named after the restaurant?

Yes so at least you know when you walk by that Lido Café used to be there.

When is the last day?

It will be April 30.

Are there any farewell events planned for the restaurant?

We have [an art show] on April 26 which is a Saturday from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. The girl’s name is Melanie Aikenhead; she did a painting about Lido. We will have complimentary french fries onion rings spring rolls something like that for the customers when they come to look at the show.

Can you tell me a little more about the event?

The artist heard about Lido’s name so she’d like to make some paintings. She belongs to Edge Gallery so they promote for her. She’s a very talented artist she paints really really well. It looks like a photo but it’s not it’s a painting.

What will you do after the restaurant is gone?

I will be resting and basically have retired. I have no plans yet.

What do you think sets Lido apart from other restaurants in the city?

We’re selling more decent food and [the] quantity is good for everybody. Also we try to do great service to the customer and make friends with the customer. I’m glad a lot of the customers are coming back to say goodbye to me. I’m very touched and very sad too you know.

What kind of food do you offer at Lido?

We have Chinese food we also have western food like burgers sandwiches and some entrees like steak liver and onions rib cutlets pork cutlets something like that.

What’s the most popular item on the menu?

Most customers like the Chinese combo and also the burgers: chicken burger bacon cheeseburger. The clubhouse is really popular too. We do breakfast too which is really popular. They have the choice of bacon sausage or ham and it comes with two eggs with hashbrowns and toast. It [has cost] $6.38 for over 10 years — we try to keep the price really low to keep the customer happy. We also have a big breakfast that’s sausage ham bacon and three eggs with hashbrowns and toast and that one only sells for $9.95.

Why do you think it’s important to keep your prices so low?

Because I like to serve the neighbourhood keep the neighbours and the customers coming back. It’s like a family you know? We’ve known some of the customers for a long time. A lot of customers come back to support us all the time and I really appreciate that.

Do you have any special memories from your 24 and a half years at the restaurant?

I liked all the regulars coming to give us business some of them coming once a week or some every day. It’s like a family that’s what I like. I am going to miss them all.

Since the building is so old is it hard to keep it maintained?

Yes you bet. Sometimes it’s plumbing problems and the roof was fixed a couple of years ago. Just like people getting older and getting sick all the time.

Is there anything else you’d like to say?

I’d like to take this opportunity to say thank you to my staff who worked for me present and past and also the customers — the regulars and the new customers. I really appreciate their support for the last few years. And I’d like to take the opportunity to say thanks to them.

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