Eric and Christine Kwok, owners of Ginger Beef Restaurant for 24 years, have sold their successful business. The husband and wife have lived in Fernie over thirty years, raising their two daughters. Both daughters are grown now and one still comes home to help in the restaurant during the holidays. They’ve employed a lot of “kids” over the years.
“Some kids come back to visit to say hello,” said Eric. “One or two now live in Calgary and work in hotels. They’ll return to eat here with their families.”
Eric has been the only cook so there has been a consistent quality. Everything is fresh and cooked to order. Word of mouth has brought them most of their business.
“A skier comes to visit from somewhere like Saskatchewan and then eats here all the time,” said Eric.
“I think we are the longest running business in town,” said Christine. “We never changed much but we did have to change the prices. Now it’s not easy. Everything is so expensive.”
Eric moved from Hong Kong in 1980 as his parents were living in Fernie.
“I love skiing,” said Eric “But there was no time for that with the restaurant. Linda Socher taught me to ski when I first came here.”
Eric and Christine dated for ten years before Christine came to Fernie to marry Eric.
“How can a couple work together for 24 years, in the kitchen? I know! I can’t believe it myself,” said Christine.
“There are a lot of new businesses in town. When we first started, there were 13 to 15 restaurants and no franchises; now there are over fifty.” The Kwoks bought the restaurant from the previous owners who ran it as a Chinese restaurant for about 21 years prior and they believe another family ran it before that.
The Kwoks have done some international travelling over the years to Europe but they plan to stay in Fernie.
“I’m always in the kitchen, so now I’ll be cold,” said Eric. “We really appreciate our customers. Sometimes it’s just like a family.”
The Kwoks will hand over the restaurant to the new owners at the end of October. What’s coming next will be a surprise.