After a little over a year in operation, a take-out-style restaurant in Kelowna is closing its doors. (Twila Amato/Black Press Media file)

After a little over a year in operation, a take-out-style restaurant in Kelowna is closing its doors. (Twila Amato/Black Press Media file)

Downtown Kelowna eatery closes after 7 months in operation

Kalamansi had a new approach to food, but it wasn’t the right time for it, owner said

After less than a year in operation, a Kelowna take-out style eatery closed its counter for the final time.

Kalamansi chef and co-owner Alex Lavroff said in the beginning, things worked out quite well. The eatery had a good team, the system worked well, and people came to check them out.

They were busy for a bit, but it all started to slow down.

“We were extremely busy, and then the mandated restrictions (in July) happened and we lost a lot of traffic,”

“And we just never really came back from that. People didn’t really know we were here and not enough people came in.”

He said the people who did come in were repeat customers who gave him and his team positive reviews and feedback on their food and service, but it wasn’t quite enough to help them keep afloat.

The vision for Kalamansi was to evolve with the change in dine-in service and was designed to be ahead of the curve in that regard by offering healthy fast food options, but Lavroff said maybe now just wasn’t the time for the idea, the vision, and the food he was producing.

He added that he struggled with the more technical aspects of running Kalamansi, like maintaining a social media presence, as well as setting up DoorDash and other delivery services, which he said may have helped them had he been able to stay on top of those aspects.

“At the end of the day, I have to take ownership… if the business was failing, it’s my fault. I don’t want to blame COVID or government mandates or anything else,” he said.

“I’m sure if I did something different, it would’ve taken off. I took a bit of a risk, and maybe it’s just not the food that the clientele in Kelowna wants to eat right now.”

He said he knows customers who did come again and again to Kalamansi had a good time, and so did he, saying his favourite memory was their opening day.

“Everything worked exactly how I planned it to. We had the exact amount of guests I had planned for, the system worked with the right amount of staff, the food came out instantly and perfectly, and I was so happy because I had created a new system and a really high standard of food that was fast,” he said.

“When it took off so well, that was one the best moments of my life.

“Hopefully, the next people who come in will do something much better with (the space).”

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