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50-year-old treasured Kamloops restaurant still rebuilding after burst pipe

Bamboo Inn Restaurant at 1800 Tranquille Road in Kamloops.
Bamboo Inn Restaurant at 1800 Tranquille Road in Kamloops.

One of the oldest restaurants in Kamloops has been temporarily closed for months, and the owner is eager to open the doors again. 

The Bamboo Inn Chinese restaurant in the Brock Centre shopping mall suffered a burst pipe at the end of April of this year.

“The flooding started right after a shift closed and continued overnight until the next shift opened the day after,” said owner Cosmo C Li. “It was a bloody mess.”

The Bamboo Inn first opened in 1974 and has stayed in the same family in the same location at 1800 Tranquille Road ever since.

It has become a cornerstone of the neighbourhood with many residents holding fond memories of working or dining there.

Li is waiting on construction workers and insurance processes, and wants to get running again as soon as possible.

“The water did a lot of damage to the walls and floor, the building is over 50 years old,” he said. “Everything was taken out, it was completely empty.  Most things have been fixed but now everything has to go back in properly.”

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Many residents are also waiting for the return of the traditional Chinese Canadian cuisine, like sweet and sour pork, chicken fried rice and chicken chow mein.

Hundreds expressed their support for the restaurant on social media.

“I was so surprised to see all of the comments and support,” Li said. “And I am very thankful to everyone for continuing to be patient.”

Long-time Kamloops resident Wendy Wilson-Matheson has fond memories of the Bamboo Inn, dating back to when she was a teenager.

“They had the best French fries and gravy they served in a waxed bag from the take out window in the 70s,” she said. “It is a special teenage memory.

“If I remember correctly at the beginning it was take out only on the small side where the counter is in front of the kitchen,” she said. “It was a big deal when they had sit down. Many long-time Brocklehurst families have fond memories.”

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Li said he started the restaurant all those years ago for a simple reason, he loves food. He came from the Lower Mainland with an education in nursing, but opened a restaurant instead.

“Food is my hobby, you can’t imagine how much I love it,” he said. “We have a lot of energy and are still enjoying running the business even after all these years.”

Li is not able to pin down a re-opening date yet.

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