Here comes China Garden

Sean McGowan
Lianxin and Jerry Shao laid out a detailed drawing of what they want the restaurant to look like on a piece of note paper. 
Sean McGowan/TimesNewspapers

As a chef going on 20 years in his profession, Peoria resident Lianxin Shao knows a lot about the restaurant business.

He worked alongside Jerry Shao, his son, and his brother for several years at New China Kitchen in Peoria. There he cooked while Jerry performed cashier duties and Jerry's uncle managed the restaurant.

“I have done (customer service) for about five years now,” Jerry said. “I worked in South Mississippi in a buffet restaurant, I've worked in Milwaukee...”

Now Lianxin and Jerry are teaming up to open a Chinese restaurant in the Germantown Hills shopping center next to the Dollar General.

They are currently focused on meeting health department regulations as well as replacing the floor with tiles.

“There is a lot of stuff to do,” Jerry said in terms of meeting health regulations.

However, Jerry and his dad Lianxin are happy to work with such a nice property owner.

“He is a nice guy,” Jerry said. “He's fixed a lot of things for us already.”

The Shao's have already determined the layout of the restaurant; there will be two tables that seat four people each at the left of the entrance, two tables on the right of the entrance that seat eight people each, and in the back on the righthand side will be the restrooms.

A three-compartment sink will sit approximately 15 feet to the left of the restrooms, the service counter will be about 20 feet from the tables on the left side, there will be two fryers and a wok table right behind the counter on the left and a rice warmer to the right of those tables.

Jerry said his dad will use this equipment to cook a variety of foods. He said they want to be able to serve people who do not enjoy Chinese food as well.

“We will have ribs, too,” he said.

But the bulk of the menu will consist of stir fry, General Tsao's chicken, egg rolls, fried rice and the like.

Jerry said for now the restaurant will not be a self-service style dining facility but it may become one eventually if he and his dad get enough business to afford the still-empty property next door to them.

“For now we are just going to have (this space),” Jerry said. “We might decide to have a buffet in the place next door later.”

According to Jerry, this restaurant will be the first Chinese restaurant in Germantown Hills. The Village of Germantown Hills' local business guide on www.germantownhills.com contains information on several restaurants, including Pizza Place II, Subway and Germantown Grille, but no Chinese restaurants.

The restaurant will be the second new building to open within three months, the last being Germantown Hills resident Ray King's Photo-Artistry business.

Jerry said he and Lianxin hope to open for business just before Christmas. Residents interested in seeing the progress of the restaurant can go to the Germantown Hills shopping center off of IL-116 and see the property to the right of the Dollar General.