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Popular Kamloops African restaurant moving into bigger, better location

Owner of Tobilicious Kitchen in downtown Kamloops, Oluwatobi Akinwumi.
Owner of Tobilicious Kitchen in downtown Kamloops, Oluwatobi Akinwumi.
Image Credit: SUBMITTED/ Oluwatobi Akinwumi

The owner of a West African restaurant in downtown Kamloops is moving to a larger space on the North Shore this year.

Oluwatobi Akinwumi is moving Tobilicious Kitchen from its limited space on West Victoria Street downtown into the former Money Mart location at 205 Tranquille Rd.

“I have been waiting for long time to find a bigger, better location where I can have room for more indoor dining and put in a really big kitchen,” she said.

Akinwumi launched Tobilicious Kitchen at the end of 2020 after graduating with a masters degree in business administration from Thompson Rivers University.

READ MORE: TRU grad opens Kamloops's first West African restaurant

While business has been booming, the current location is limited by size to mostly take-out, delivery and catering services.

“We are continuing to grow and I want to serve more customers in a sit-down restaurant,” Akinwumi said. “The North Shore location is in a busy, high traffic area and many of my customers are loyal, so I’m confident it will be the perfect place to expand.”

Akinwumi also purchased the Minie Genies Convenient Store right next door to the new restaurant location and she plans to have it operating 24/7. The new name is O&A Convenience Store.

“The convenience store is large and already stocked with many products,” she said. “I am going to bring in West African items and authentic snacks as well to really be able to draw in a diverse customer base.”

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With the convenience store already set up, Akinwumi plans to open, Sept. 18, but turning the Money Mart into a restaurant is a much larger endeavour.

Akinwumi calls it her full-time job, but with a degree in business and years of experience in the restaurant industry she knows she can make it happen.

“Filling in the proper paperwork and obtaining the required permits is taking time,” she said. “The majority of the renovating required will be installing the kitchen in the back area of the building.

“We did a lot of planning in advance. We already have a contractor to put the kitchen in and an architect is helping us. It is a lot of work. I am working to open it this year.” 

Tobilicious Kitchen is the first African restaurant established in Kamloops, serving West African lunch and dinner dishes as well as pastries and drinks.

“We make dishes from scratch and spice them and cook them the way they are cooked back home in Nigeria,” she said. “It is really important to keep the dishes as authentic as possible.”

READ MORE: Vibrant Afro Caribbean market opens its doors in Kamloops

They also have assorted meat and vegetable stews and other West African specialties like Gizz-Dodo, which is fried gizzard with plantains (similar to bananas but more savoury) and pepper sauce.

Their hand-held pies are stuffed with ground beef, potatoes and spices, and the dough is made from scratch in-house.

When asked what feedback she is getting from her current customers, Akinwumi said she is feeling a lot of excitement from them.

“We have a good niche of customers here and every time they come in they ask when I’m moving, it is the most repeated question,” she said. “Everyone is excited and supportive.”

Akinwumi is looking forward to meeting and providing service for new customers on the North Shore.

Tobilicious is open at their current location at 299 West Victoria Street from 12 p.m. to 9 p.m. daily. Call 250-571-7042 to place an order for pickup.

To contact a reporter for this story, email Shannon Ainslie or call 250-819-6089 or email the editor. You can also submit photos, videos or news tips to the newsroom and be entered to win a monthly prize draw.

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