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

Nick Trask, 36, and Ryan Ellison, 35, died in a boat collision on Osoyoos Lake in 2019. (Facebook photo)
Meth, excessive speed found as factors in Osoyoos boat crash deaths

Nick Trask, 36, and Ryan Ellison, 35, died in a boat collision on Osoyoos Lake in 2019

A woman wears a protective face covering to help prevent the spread of COVID-19 as she walks past the emergency entrance of Vancouver General Hospital in Vancouver, B.C., Friday, April 9, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
54 more cases of COVID-19 in Interior Health

Thirty-two people in the region are in hospital with the virus, 11 of them in intensive care

The automated external defibrillator, like the one pictured here, was stolen from the Skaha Lake Boathouse for the second time in a year. (File)
Life-saving device stolen from Penticton paddler community for second time

It’s hoped that a new boathouse will be able to better protect the device

scales of justice
Guilty or not guilty? Lamb waits on two judges’ decisions

Trials for two of Bryan Lamb’s criminal cases wrapped up this week

Katerina Bakalos of Summerland will release her first single on May 1. The music label is LMS Entertainment from Kelowna. (Contributed)
Summerland singer to release single under Kelowna-based label

Katerina Bakalos has performed a rock rendition of I Think We’re Alone Now

A large crowd protested against COVID-19 measures at Sunset Beach in Vancouver on Tuesday, April 20, 2021. (Snapchat)
VIDEO: Large, police-patrolled crowds gather at Vancouver beach for COVID protests

Vancouver police said they patrolled the area and monitored all gatherings

Virtual meetings are taking a toll on local governance, according to multiple mayors in the North Okanagan. (Headway photo)
Virtual meetings leave North Okanagan politicians out of touch

More than a year of Zoom has led to a disconnect between officials, according to local mayors

FILE – The Instagram app is shown on an iPhone in Toronto on Monday, March 19, 2018. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Graeme Roy
Judge acquits B.C. teen boy ‘set up’ on sex assault charge based on Instagram messages

The girl and her friends did not have ‘good intentions’ towards the accused, judge says

Meng Wanzhou, chief financial officer of Huawei, walks down the street with an acquaintance after leaving B.C. Supreme Court during a lunch break at her extradition hearing, in Vancouver, B.C., Thursday, April 1, 2021. A judge is scheduled to release her decision today on a request to delay the final leg of hearings in Meng Wanzhou’s extradition case. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Rich Lam
B.C. judge grants Meng Wanzhou’s request to delay extradition hearings

Lawyers for Canada’s attorney general had argued there is no justification to delay proceedings in the case

B.C. Premier John Horgan announces travel restrictions between the province’s regional health authorities at the legislature, April 19, 2021. (B.C. government photo)
B.C. sees 862 more COVID-19 cases Wednesday, seven deaths

Recreational travel restrictions set to begin Friday

Kai Palkeinen recently helped a car stuck on the riverbed near the Big Eddy Bridge. While the car could not be saved, some of the driver’s belongings were. It’s common for vehicles to get stuck in the area due to significantly changing river levels from Revelstoke Dam. (Photo by Kai Palkeinen)
‘I just sank a car’: Revelstoke resident wants the Columbia River better protected

Although it’s not permitted, the riverbed near the city is popular for off roading

B.C. Finance Minister Selina Robinson is photographed following her budget speech in the legislative assembly at the provincial legislature in Victoria, Tuesday, April 20, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito
B.C. budget lacks innovative drive, vision during uncertain times, say experts

Finance Minister Selina Robinson’s budget sets out to spend $8.7 billion over three years on infrastructure

Using panels kept cold by water circulating within them, B.C. researchers compared thermal comfort in 60 of the world’s most populous cities, including Toronto. (Lea Ruefenacht)
B.C. researchers use air conditioning to combat spread of COVID particles

Dr. Adam Rysanek and his team have proven a new worthwhile system – a mixture of cooling panels and natural ventilation

Police road checks are coming for people travelling between regions while COVID-19 travel restrictions are in place. (Black Press file photo)
B.C. clarifies COVID-19 travel restrictions, Lower Mainland a single zone

Vehicle checks on highways, at ferry terminals to start Friday

Most Read