Support pours in for long-running Chinatown restaurant gutted by fire
A restaurant in Chinatown gutted by fire this month has received an outpouring of financial support and recognition from locals for the way it provided food security to low-income residents in the area.
Fire broke out Sept. 9 at the Gain Wah Restaurant, went up a vent pipe and caused an explosion. Thirty-nine residents living in single-room occupancy (SRO) units above the restaurant, known as the Keefer Rooms, were also displaced.
“It’s a tragedy of what happened,” said Nicole Baxter, one of the Keefer Rooms residents.
As she helped some of her neighbours move belongings out of their units this week, some passersby peered into the restaurant’s shuttered doors to see the extensive smoke and water damage to its ceiling and floor.
For decades, Gain Wah specialized in hearty Cantonese diner dishes, such as BBQ pork, curried beef brisket and soy sauce chicken on rice, that were under $10. Baxter said she will miss the dried garlic spare ribs, adding that one of Gain Wah’s servers lived upstairs.