THE owners of Griffith’s oldest Chinese restaurant have revealed it will take “a miracle” for them to re-open their popular eatery, after it was decimated by fire earlier this year.
After opening Cafe Beautiful in 1968, Trina and Charlie Chan have admitted the blaze may have spelled the end to a business beloved by the community.
“I really don’t think it will re-open, unless we get some kind of miracle,” Mrs Chan said.
“Charlie’s beyond 80 now and we really have to stop and smell the roses.”
The restaurant was gutted by fire in April when a blaze broke out in the upstairs units.
Two of the five units were also destroyed in the fire, while two were left with extensive smoke and water damage.
Six families were left homeless following the fire. With no final figure coming from the couple’s insurance company and Mr Chan’s increasing age, Mrs Chan believed the likelihood of getting back behind the counter was low, but refused to think negatively.
“We will definitely be closed for the rest of the year,” she said.
“If we do get a miracle, I guess we wouldn’t be ready until at least mid-year next year.
“We would definitely be looking beyond June-July.”
Despite the uncertainty, Mrs Chan preferred to think of all the good that had come from the couple’s 45 years in business in a city they adore.
“We’ve built a good relationship with the community and we’ve had a lovely life here,” she said.
“Some of our customers have developed into firm friends.
“We’ll stay here as long as we can and we’ll just wait and see what happens.
“There are great expectations though.”
With the support of the community, Mrs Chan is hopeful if they can’t re-open the business, someone else will.
Even if Mr Chan can’t pick up his treasured wok, the pair will always hold a special place in the city’s heart.
“Some of our customers come up to us in the street and say, ‘we miss you’,” she said.
“The children in the supermarket sing ‘Uncle Charlie, he’s our man, if he can’t do it, Trina can.”