Tucked in between the organic grocers and yoga mat peddlers of Kitsilano’s 4th Ave. lies Connie’s Cook House, a neighbourhood staple of Chinese food for the past decade.
Owner Connie Su, who can be found serving tables every lunch service, prides herself on the strict standards she holds regarding her food — standards she believes has pushed her place to become the institution it is.
“We go to the grocer’s every day,” said Su.
“The market is the first place we go. That’s what makes us different. I feel people still need more education about fresh vegetables.”
With Chinese New Year and the Olympics just around the corner, Su is preparing for an extra-busy period, but isn’t revealing what tricks she has up her sleeve for her culture’s New Year celebration just yet.
“It’s difficult to say what we’re going to do exactly,” said Su. “The really traditional New Year’s dishes, like steamed fish, may be a little too much for Vancouver people.
“But, I have a very traditional Chinese family,” she adds. “Three generations under the same roof, it’s the Chinese way. So, I’m sure we’ll be doing something for New Year.”
Friendly service, another cornerstone of Su’s success, is an integral part of what keeps people walking through her doors regardless of what celebration, or time of year, it may be.
“Warm service,” she said. “Always a smile. Because of that, my regulars have been supporting me this whole time.”
Monica Wang, who’s been working for Connie for the past nine years, feels the staff at the restaurant has been able to able to create a strong feeling of community with all their customers.
“We really are like a family here,” she said. “The neighbourhood is just so nice.”
For Derek Nakamoto and Kelly Yhap, regulars of Connie’s since the early days of the restaurant, it’s that personable service that keeps bringing them back.
“It’s just so friendly here,” said Nakamoto. “And the portions are great, good value.”
The Yaletown residents say they will definitely be making the trip across the bridge again soon, even with closer options at their disposal.
“For Chinese food in Vancouver, even for Chinatown, this place is the best option,” said Nakamoto.