Danny Chan gets choked up when he discusses the end of the landmark buffet restaurant his late father Douglas built from scratch: "I have mixed emotions. It's tough to let go. You do it everyday. It's a family business. It's not easy for me."
When Jardin Tiki closes, after three decades down the street from the Olympic Stadium, to make way for a residence for seniors, a vast trove of Polynesian camp and tiki memorabilia, much of it from the old, bygone Kon Tiki (1958 to 1981) in Downtown Montreal, will be sold off. Douglas Chan left China for Montreal in the 1950s, took a job as a waiter at Kon Tiki and had what son Danny calls "the American Dream, except in Canada."
He didn't think we had the drive to take over.
"He wanted to open his own place. He studied every aspect of the business carefully. The first five to ten years we had lineups to get in. My father was all work, all the time. We thought he was crazy. He never took a vacation. He didn't think my brother and I had the motivation and drive to take over the business. But eventually we did."
The only day we closed was for my father's funeral.
"Business has been tough. It's hard on your family and social life. The only day we closed was for my father's funeral. That's it. The economy right now stinks. It's hard to get help. After we close Jardin Tiki, I'll take a year to think about my next move."