Chef and co-owner Alex Lavroff says they’re confident they can weather the new restaurant restrictions in B.C. (Twila Amato - Black Press Media)

Chef and co-owner Alex Lavroff says they’re confident they can weather the new restaurant restrictions in B.C. (Twila Amato - Black Press Media)

As eateries close amid health orders, Kelowna restaurant opens with new approach

‘I got very inspired by the fact that I knew that restaurants wouldn’t be the same for a very long time’

When opening a new eatery, owners hope that people will stay, enjoy their time, and come again.

But not the people behind Kalamansi, a new takeout-style eatery in The District, downtown on Bernard Avenue.

Chef and co-owner Alex Lavroff said they pitched the idea for Kalamansi to investors in the middle of the pandemic, as many restaurants and eateries struggled to stay afloat.

While it was a daunting task, Lavroff said he felt driven to move forward with his vision.

“I got very inspired by the fact that I knew that restaurants wouldn’t be the same for a very long time,” he said.

“I just wanted to try to do something that was fitting in with the changes, maybe slightly ahead of the curve.”

Instead of opening a traditional sit-down restaurant with a dine-in experience, he instead wanted to open a healthy takeout counter to evolve within the industry while filling a gap in food options.

Lavroff said their goal is to offer a healthy fast-food option, serving up fresh food around the same time it takes for you to get a burger from a fast-food chain.

“I find a lot of times I go out and eat, and then I just feel full and sick afterwards,” he said.

“What we’re always trying to think about, our main thing, is how do you feel after your meal is done? Our whole focus is giving you that boost for the rest of the day.”

The restaurant gets its name from a Southeast Asian citrus fruit, most often found in the Philippines and Indonesia. Lavroff said kalamansi is one of his favourite fruits to incorporate in his cooking, given its fresh citrus flavour.

“I’ve been studying citrus for years, and it’s starting to define my cooking.”

“Here at Kalamansi, we like to play around with acidity and citrus to tie our flavours together instead of heavy sauces.”

Lavroff said since they opened just a week ago, it’s difficult to tell how they’ll do in the next little while — especially with new provincial health orders placing more strain on the service industry.

“Fingers crossed, we’ve designed ourselves to be successful through the pandemic, especially if any more shutdowns happen.”

Moving forward, it’s still a little too early to say what’s next for the Kalamansi team, but Lavroff said they plan to open other locations, hoping to give new meaning to Kelowna’s fast-food chain landscape.

To find out more about Kalamansi, check out their website.

READ: Central Okanagan restaurant owners frustrated following indoor dining ban


Twila Amato
Video journalist, Black Press Okanagan
Email me at twila.amato@blackpress.ca
Follow me on Twitter

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

The Revelstoke Women's Shelter Society has released an educational video about unhealthy relationships. (Contributed)
Revelstoke Women’s Shelter Society educates on healthy relationships with new video

April 11-17 is Prevention of Violence Against Women Week

A 46-year-old man from Armstrong died in Revelstoke hospital after being injured in the Lumby area. (File photo)
Armstrong snowmobiler dies in Revelstoke hospital

46-year-old man injured in Tsuius Mountain area of Monashees around Lumby area

Guy Barber in front of his jewellery store at 208 Mackenzie Avenue, circa 1915. (Revelstoke Museum and Archives photo 272)
Glimspes of Revelstoke’s past for April 8

Local history as recorded by the newspaper of the time

Downtown Revelstoke. (Liam Harrap/Revelstoke Review)
LETTER: Finding Common Ground Through COVID-19

‘How do you eat an elephant? One bite at a time.’

Alchemy Studio received a ticked from the RCMP on Thursday, April 8, for staying open despite provincial restrictions ordering yoga studios be closed to prevent the spread of COVID-19. (Contributed)
Revelstoke yoga class fined for defying COVID-19 orders

The RCMP were called to the Alchemy Studio on April 8

Burnaby MLA Raj Chouhan presides as Speaker of the B.C. legislature, which opened it spring session April 12 with a speech from the throne. THE CANADIAN PRESS
B.C. NDP promises more health care spending, business support in 2021 budget

John Horgan government to ‘carefully return to balanced budgets’

The Red Pill Rapper performs to the crowd gathered for the Rally For Food Security at Blackburn Park on Saturday, April 10, 2021. (Kristal Burgess Photography)
The Red Pill Rapper performs to the crowd gathered for the Rally For Food Security at Blackburn Park on Saturday, April 10, 2021. (Kristal Burgess Photography)
Suspicion of ‘fake news media’ makes rally uncomfortable for Salmon Arm event photographer

More than 300 people counted at city park for ‘Rally For Food Security’

A lady wears a sticker given out after receiving a COVID-19 vaccine at a clinic in Richmond, B.C., Saturday, April 10, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS
B.C.’s COVID-19 case count slows after last week’s peak

3,219 new cases since Friday, 18 additional deaths

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good
Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

North Cowichan councillor Tek Manhas did not violate the municipality’s code of conduct by posting a sexist meme on Facebook, council concludes. (File photo)
B.C. municipality to take no action against councillor who posted sexist meme

Tek Manhas’s meme doesn’t violate North Cowichan council’s code of conduct, municipality concludes

The former Summerland Asset Development Initiative building on Prairie Valley Road in Summerland was suggested as the site for a temporary transitional housing facility for the community. However, Summerland council has rejected this proposal. (John Arendt - Summerland Review)
Summerland council rejects transitional housing facility

Concerns raised about short timeline and condition of municipally-owned building

Shayla, an 8-pound black and grey Havanese, was stolen from outside a store on Banks Road on Saturday. (Contributed)
Stolen pup located, Kelowna RCMP confirms

Mounties said on April 12 that Shayla, the 8-pound, black and grey Havanese dog, has been located safe and sound

—Image: contributed
Indoor wine tastings still allowed in B.C., not considered a ‘social gathering’

“Tasting is really just part of the retail experience. The analogy I use is you wouldn’t buy a pair of pants without trying them on.”

Penticton Vees continue their winning streak carrying a 5-0 win title as of Sunday night's hockey action. (Cherie Morgan/Cherie Morgan Photography)
Penticton Vees continue winning streak

Sunday night’s 6-1 win has them with five in a row since the start of the season

Most Read