Jade Inn reaches silver
NOT many businesses in Port Douglas can say they have been open for 25 years - let alone with the same owner in the heart of Macrossan St.
Jade Inn Chinese restaurant first opened its doors as a takeaway in the location where EJ’s fish and chip shop used to be, on the corner of Macrossan and Grant St.
Owner Tony Lo started cooking in Hong Kong when he was 15, before moving to Cairns with his brother to pursue martial arts.
Mr Lo’s passion for cooking helped him find his Malaysian-born wife Karen and determine his future, not as a martial artist but rather a chef, according to his son Ka.
“My Auntie Sue loved my dad’s cooking and told my dad her younger sister Karen was coming to Australia and he had to take her out,” he said.
“Mum and dad met in Cairns and they moved to Port Douglas, during that time the construction of the Sheraton happened and there were a lot of clientele and only two places to get food.
“We became favourites and have been serving for 25 years.
“We’ve been through the pilot strike and survived countless cyclones.”
With the need for bigger premises, Jade Inn relocated to 49 Macrossan St with the help of Karen’s sister and brother-in-law Sue and Peter Green.
“The support of the locals keeps us going,” Ka said.
“The highlight has been seeing kids we used to serve turn into parents with families and also customers from overseas and interstate.
“One couple come here every public holiday and eat in the restaurant three nights.”
Mr Lo said the reason behind the success of Jade Inn has been a combination of his dad’s passion for cooking and his mum’s hard work ethic.
“Dad’s passion for food is why the food we put out is good and also using real ingredients and produce like honey from the Tablelands,” he said.
“It makes a difference using local produce and making everything homemade - it’s important for us and our reputation.”
Karen Lo said the secret behind a successful business is keeping on top of rent and all accounts and keeping the customers happy, which in turn keeps her happy.
“When I come to work I never get tired because of the customers and the day passes really quick, that’s why I can still laugh and smile when working every week,” she said.
The Jade Inn will celebrate with a big birthday banquet on Saturday night.
Still going strong: Tony and Karen Lo