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Kwongs reopen The Red Apple

Guy Quenneville
Northern News Services
Published Wednesday, December 10, 2008

SOMBA K'E/YELLOWKNIFE - It's been a rough year for connoisseurs of chicken chow mein and wonton soup in Yellowknife, as two popular Chinese restaurants closed their doors for good.

The first to go was Pan-Asia Gourmet House, soon followed by Ryan's Restaurant.

NNSL Photo/Graphic

A popular Yellowknife restaurant, The Red Apple, has reopened thanks to new managers Raemee and Tony Kwong - Guy Quenneville/NNSL photo

But the owners of a prominent and long-running Yellowknife eatery have resurrected a recently-closed downtown restaurant and are bringing Chinese food with them.

Raemee and Tony Kwong, owners of Mark's Family Restaurant in the Scotia Centre, have reopened The Red Apple on the corner of 48 Street and Franklin Avenue.

"We mentioned the idea to a lot of customers at Mark's and they said it would be a really good idea," said Raemee, speaking at a table inside freshly-painted quarters of The Red Apple

The restaurant closed - some thought for good - earlier in the year.

"They said 'It would be like going home again.'"

While The Red Apple will once again be the family restaurant it used to be, offering comfort good like burgers and fries, the Kwongs hope to extend the selection of Chinese food items on the menu and eventually want to have a brunch buffet available on weekends, too.

Having a new Chinese food venue downtown is helpful for those people who work downtown but might consider a trudge up to Cdegree weather too trying, said Tony.

"It's far more convenient for our customers and friends in this area," said Raemee.

But for those who are courageous enough to brave the weather, there's another advantage.

"This place has a lot more seats and a lot more room," said Tony.

"At Mark's, we only had about 85 seats. Very often we had to turn people away, unfortunately, because there was no room. But The Red Apple has 116 seats."

Tony was quick to point out the infusion of additional Chinese dishes will not come at the cost of what The Red Apple is known for.

"Ninety per cent of our customers here come for the other food," said Raemee.

But for now, the biggest challenge remains finding enough staff for the restaurant, which the Kwongs hope will employ between 13 to 15 people, five of whom are still needed.

Raemee said they are making progress on the hiring front.

"We're getting some new people from down south at the end of the week and more next week," said Raemee. "That should free us up more. Right now we're very busy."

It will also give them time to plan a grand opening.

The Kwongs, who are from Canton, China, came to Yellowknife 14 years ago and took over Mark's five years ago.

"We feel like we have the right experience to make this place work," said Raemee.