Han and Linda Kim want their customers at West Coast Fish N’ Chips to eat well — and find a refuge from the stresses of life.
“We pray that when they enter the restaurant that it’s a place of peace,” Linda said. “I want to treat them as family and friends coming to eat. I thank God for that opportunity.”
Linda is a welcoming presence as she takes orders for cod, clams, crab and other varieties of fish while Christian songs play softly in the background.
Han works in the kitchen, frying and grilling fish — skills he knew nothing about when the Kims bought the restaurant 14 years ago. It’s on Shaw Avenue near Sunnyside Avenue, across from Sierra Vista Mall.
Han is now an expert on the vegetable oil he uses to cook after orders are placed. He filters the oil once a day — sometimes twice when the restaurant is extra busy. He dumps the oil twice a week to start with a fresh batch.
“We always keep the promise of clean oil,” Linda said.
The Kims believe in keeping promises to their customers, even if only the Kims are aware of those promises.
For example, they don’t skimp on portions. “If I say the cod is six inches, I want it to be six inches,” Linda said. “I want people to be happy. I want to keep my word.”
The fish is dipped in batter, deep fried and served with golden chips (fries).
One piece is $4.99, two pieces are $7.49 and three pieces are $10.49.
The menu also features combination plates including a piece of fish and one of the following: calamari strips, chicken strips, clam strips, oysters, prawns or scallops. Prices are $7.49 or $7.99.
Family orders are available under a menu heading entitled “For The Hungry Crew.” The orders, named for coastal locations, include the Santa Cruz (six pieces of cod), the Pismo (20 oysters) and the Venice (20 prawns). Prices are $18.99 to $36.99.
The menu also includes grilled salmon ($9.99), clam chowder in a bread bowl ($6.99) and numerous side orders (two crab cakes, $3.99; coleslaw, $1.79, etc.).
The Kims make tartar, cocktail and ranch sauces to go with the fish. It’s a standing joke at the restaurant that the creamy tartar sauce comes in yellow squeeze bottles that first-time customers sometimes mistakenly believe contain mustard.
The Kims came to the Valley under different circumstances, but they started from the same place: South Korea.
Han moved to Fresno to attend Fresno Pacific University, choosing the school because of its Christian foundation. He studied business.
Linda was a teenager when her parents immigrated to the Bay Area. The family soon came to Fresno.
The Kims met at the Fresno Korean Presbyterian Church and have been married for 18 years. They have three sons — 16-year-old twins, Anthony and Andrew, who attend Clovis West High School, and 10-year-old Adam, a student at Liberty Elementary School. Han and Linda went through the naturalization process to become American citizens.
They decided to get into the restaurant business because they like preparing meals for family and friends. “It makes people happy,” Linda said.
Building relationships is important to the couple.
Longtime employee Christina Clark, who has worked at the restaurant for 14 years, is treasured, Linda said: “She’s like our family.”
The Kims also have grown close to some of their customers, sharing details of their lives and praying for one another.
Several customers have given the couple figurines of fishermen and sailors that are displayed on a shelf at the restaurant. Another regular customer carved a gift for the Kims: A wooden one-legged sailor reading the Bible. It’s on display, too.
Patty and Monte Trinkle are regular customers. The Hans are “wonderful, hard-working people,” Patty said. The Trinkles, who live in Fresno but are former Clovis residents, particularly like the salmon dinner.
“It is delicious and is a great bargain compared to other restaurants,” Patty said.
The Kims value the people who come their way.
“I want to give every single customer a warm feeling,” Linda said. “Our main thing is food, but I also want people to come back as friends.”
West Coast Fish N’ Chips is at 1275 Shaw Ave., No. 104, in the shopping center with FoodMaxx. The telephone number is (559) 325-5544. Hours are 11 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. and 4 to 7:30 p.m. Monday; 11 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. and 4 to 8 p.m. Tuesday to Thursday; 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. Friday, and 11:30 a.m. to 8 p.m. Saturday. The restaurant is closed on Sunday.