A year after a series of violent attacks on a West Kelowna restaurant forced its closure, the local couple behind the operation is back in business—this time at a new, larger location in Kelowna.
The Thai Terrace Restaurant, located at the corner of Lawrence Avenue and Abbott Street across from City Park, held a “soft” opening late last week prior to putting up signs and getting its liquor licence.
And as they start anew Luke and Ess Sumpantarat hope the person who targeted their business, Thai Fusion Restaurant, in West Kelowna for 2 1/2 years with vandalism, fire and even gunshots, stays away.
“We just want to put the past behind us,” said Luke, adding it was great to see so many customers from his previous restaurant turn out for the soft opening.
“We are fortunate to have so many great clients.”
Despite having a strong clientele, Thai Fusion’s history in West Kelowna was a perplexing and worrying for Luke.
Starting in 2015, his restaurant near Westbank—then in business for nearly five years—became the target of a lone masked man who was repeatedly caught on video surveillance smashing windows with a baseball bat, attempting to set fire to the restaurant and even firing shots at it that penetrated the special metal roll shutters that were installed.
The reason for the repeated vandalism remains a mystery.
At one point the vandal left a spray-painted message telling Luke to “pay what you owe.” But he said the only money he ever borrowed for the business was from his mom.
Now the restaurant has been reborn under a new name, in a new location and in a larger premises.
The location is the former Wings Restaurant in Kelowna, a space that offers the Sumpantarats and their new partners nearly twice the space of the old restaurant.
Once the restaurant has its liquor licence and the signs are up, he said he plans to hold an official opening—likely following the upcoming Victoria Day long weekend.
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