IT may not be as British as fish and chips but the Shirley Temple Chinese Restaurant is still as firm a favourite with Silhillians as it was when it first threw open its doors 40 years ago.
In 1969, the restaurant was one of the first in the locality to serve Chinese, Cantonese and Peking food and, to date the family business, headed by Director Mrs Petty Yip, reckon they have served 1.5 million customers around 100 tonnes of rice, 25 tonnes of noodles, 95 tonnes of vegetables, 75,000 ducks and chickens and eight tonnes of soy sauce.
Tommy Yip and his wife Yee Tai worked in the Shirley Temple from 1969 as a waiter and a kitchen hand. Their fortunes changed after the couple borrowed money to buy a 15 per cent stake in the restaurant.
As the business became busier, the pair gradually bought out their other partners until they owned it outright.
Tommy and Yee decided to extend their business and bought the neighbouring premises – renovating the building so that today it seats up to about 80 people.
A true family concern, the restaurant has seen many family members work in the restaurant over the years. In fact one of the original waiters at the restaurant was Yee Tai’s brother who is now head chef .
Sadly, Tommy died in 2007 but Yee Tai still runs the restaurant to the same traditions as 40 years ago.
Now the popular eaterie is inviting locals to a special night on Thursday May 7 when there will be a live DJ and music and a raffle and prize draw as well as an anniversary gift for all customers to celebrate four decades in business as well as the memory of Tommy Yip.
Contact the restaurant on 0121 745 6639 for more details.