The decor is absolutely stunning. Amazing chandeliers, gorgeous table cloths, elegant chairs, delicate napkins, comfortable couches in the waiting area, and even beautiful fold up walls. The food and the service are top notch. Join Asian Fusion as we meet and talk with the man behind Grand Restaurant’s success.
Confident, energetic, and smart accurately describes the character of Mr. Cheng. Most of you may not know him by his name. But I’m sure if I mention East Manor or East Buffet in Flushing and in Huntington, you will say “Ah!, I know the place”, just like I did.
Mr. Cheng is one of the few talented people who comes up with gigantic restaurant concepts where families and friends gather for all occasions; from corporate year-end celebrations to small family birthday party. He used to own and operate the East Manor and East Buffet restaurants where they were very successful under his management.
“Developer” might better define his career than restaurant owner. He had his first two small restaurants in Hong Kong when he was 17 years old. A few years later, he came to the United States where he had more windows of opportunity open for him. He started his first job as a sign-maker working for an interior design company. By doing this, he began to build up strong network in the restaurant industry, where he always felt a strong passion.
“A challenge is what I’m always looking for.”, Mr. Cheng said. “I like to make big restaurants successful. Then, I’ll go and look for a new one which, of course, is bigger and more challenging.” He even insisted that these challenges have driven and inspired him to the point where he is now.
Grand Restaurant is his brand new place. It serves splendid Pan-Asian food, the freshest seafood, along with Dim-Sum daily from 9am – 4pm. Customers can enjoy food in groups of 4 to 36 people, and all can sit together at the same table. The seating is quite comfortable, unlike some Chinatown restaurants where you are packed into small little tables with no arm room.
After 18 months of construction, beautiful and flawless Grand Restaurant landed in Flushing. Mr. Cheng spent all his time to ensure Grand Restaurant would be a memorable place for all his customers, especially for brides and grooms who have their wedding at Grand Restaurant. All the effort he put in to this restaurant is shown from the first step when you get on the escalator all the way up to the third floor of the newly renovated New World Mall. Elegant chandeliers were strategically placed all around the grand dining room. A well-stocked wine showcase is right in front of you when you come off escalator. The entire floor is 3,5000 sq.ft, and can hold up to 1,400 people at capacity. Grand Restaurant is considered to be the one of the biggest restaurant in North America. Not only that, if you are in the mood for singing after having a delicious meal, there are 24 karaoke rooms to let loose after a stressful day at work, or just to have a fun evening with friends or family. Small parties are welcome here as well, with nine private and separate rooms.
When I asked Mr. Cheng, “Who helped you design the restaurant?”, my expectation was that he would name a famous designer; but instead, he responded quickly, “No one”. There was no set plan for anything: not for the decorations, not even for the furniture. “Everything goes by ‘the feeling’. Plus, an enormous and elegant restaurant theme is always on my mind. I feel like it is more challenging to make it succeed.”
You will feel his energy when you walk into Grand Restaurant and Mr. Cheng is there to greet you. He is always there to welcome you. Everyday, he is still the first person who comes to the restaurant to make sure things are going in the right direction. He still goes to check on the back of house, straight to the kitchen to try new special dishes with his chefs. The cuisine is very international, with food served from around the globe: Chinese, Taiwanese, Thai, Japanese, Italian, and French, to name just a few. Mr. Cheng makes sure that every dish that goes to the tables comes out perfect. He wants his customers to get the very best on each dish. Asked who he would most like to have dinner with, Mr. Cheng responded, “If Leslie Cheung was still alive, I would like to invite him to be my guest in the restaurant because I have been a big fan of his since I was a child”.
My last curiosity about Mr. Cheng is what his next move might be since he is very successful in the United States by having the biggest restaurant. “I will do business in China, perhaps opening a Pan-Asian restaurant in one of the cities in China.” Well done, Mr. Cheng!