After 18 years in Moosomin and over 30 years in the restaurant business, Lisa and Lobo Yiu are finally taking their well-deserved retirement.
Yiu’s Garden Restaurant closed its doors after serving customers one last time on Sunday, June 18. The restaurant has been purchased by new owners who plan to do some renovations before reopening it. Lisa and Lobo plan to move to Toronto, where much of Lisa’s family lives, and where their two sons live.
Lobo grew up in Hong Kong and came to Canada in 1979 at the age of 25, living in Bredenbury and Esterhazy before moving to Wapella. He was joined by Lisa, who grew up in Canton, China a few years later. The couple ran restaurants in Wapella and Maryfield for a number of years before purchasing the Chinese restaurant in Moosomin, the town they would call home for the next 18 years.
Ever since then they have been serving up Cantonese and Canadian food to the community, and their buffets have become a tradition for many.
“It’s been really good, people support us,” says Lisa.
“I will miss the people here because it’s my town, it’s like a big family. People really cared about me. They taught me English and taught me how to drive and get my license.”
“There are very good people in Moosomin,” says Lobo. “Sometimes they would see that we are busy and they would help us to clean the tables. Some customers have even helped me to wash the dishes! They are very, very good customers—they are good friends.”
Lobo says he will miss the routine of the place.
“I get up early in the morning, I come down and get everything ready for the whole day and we open the door at 9 or 10 in the morning. Everything is set up in the kitchen and I start to serve coffee, and after lunch I get ready for suppertime. I like getting everything prepared in the kitchen. I have to always think about what I have to do for next day.”
Lobo says retirement and moving to Toronto will be an adjustment. He says he’s used to working until 9 or 9:30 at night in the restaurant before being able to wind down for the day.
“After I retire, I will get up in the morning and have nothing to do—I don’t know, it’s going to be a big change,” he says.
“I have to really enjoy my retirement. Toronto is a big city and it will be very different.”
Lisa has two sisters who own three restaurants and an uncle who owns six restaurants in Toronto. Lobo says he’s willing to lend a helping hand if they need him, to keep busy.
“Maybe I help as a standby cook,” he says. “If they need me then I can go and help at their place. I can not always be sitting at home with nothing to do.”
The couple plans to take a trip to Hong Kong this summer to visit relatives as well—something they have not done for six years.
Despite reuniting with family and friends after retirement, both of them say they will miss living in this the area, and can’t say enough about the support they have received over the years.
“In Wapella I had two boys born there,” says Lisa. “People helped me babysit there. We cooked the food and people would help.
“If you think about two people running a restaurant and having two kids, how do you manage it all?
“My parents would say I don’t know how you manage it with two little babies and still running a restaurant. But the customers are nice, they are helped me look after my kids and they would come to eat. I’m lucky that people helped.
“When I move, I will miss it here.
“Me too,” adds Lobo. “I will be in Toronto but my heart will still be in Moosomin.”