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Two competing Chinese buffets prepare to open

Chinese food enthusiasts have their chopsticks at the ready as two new restaurants prepare to open in New Richmond.

China House, a Chinese sitdown and take-out restaurant on Paperjack Drive, has plans to open a buffet on the north side. Having bought the old Panda Forest building on Knowles Avenue, the restaurant will maintain its current operation in addition to the new location, which will be called China House Buffet.

Although a date for completion has not been set, China House manager Alvin Lu said the competition brought by Royal Buffet — the other Chinese restaurant set to open — fueled the decision to expand.

Located right around the corner at 1655 Dorset Lane, Royal Buffet will offer traditional Chinese dine-in and take-out. Owned by brothers Sam and Michael Fu, the business serves as another notch in the Fu family restaurant belt.

After moving to the United States 20 years ago, Sam and Michael’s parents opened a Chinese restaurant in Madison, which they still operate. Now an Ellsworth resident, Sam also introduced Chinese food to the land of cheese curds with King House, a sit-down restaurant that has served customers for more than five years.

Due to his success in Ellsworth, Sam was able to pursue the possibility of opening a restaurant in New Richmond. Michael will operate Royal Buffet, which he plans to open later this summer.

In the meantime, the pair is busy remodeling the restaurant’s interior. According to the building’s landlord, Jean Jensen, the finished product will feature a spacious, stainless steel kitchen with brand new sinks, stoves and ovens, as well as buffet, drink and dessert stations.

With five or six cooks manning the kitchen, customers can expect a variety of food to choose from. Popular items like fried rice, egg rolls and sweet and sour chicken are on the menu, but Royal Buffet will also offer seafood and American food.

“Sam and Michael are very experienced,” Jensen said. “I have a lot of confidence in the restaurant, especially because there’s such a need for food on that end of town.”

With New Richmond High School and the recently relocated St. Croix County Services Center just around the corner, Jensen said the buffet’s location will diversify dining options on the south side of town.

Open for lunch and dinner, Royal Buffet will offer cheaper afternoon dining with the promise of fresh ingredients. According to Jensen, the restaurant will have somethingfor everyone. “This is what Chinese restaurants really thrive on,” Jensen said. “Buffets give people a lot of options for one price. I think it will be excellent.”

Jenny Hudalla
A senior at Bethel University, Jenny Hudalla is pursuing degrees in journalism, Spanish and reconciliation studies. Having graduated from New Richmond High School in 2011, she served as editor-in-chief of the Tiger Rag before taking a job as editor-in-chief of Bethel's student newspaper, The Clarion. After completing her internship with the New Richmond News, Hudalla plans to move on to a career in social justice.
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