1. Welcome! Please take a few seconds to create your free account to post threads, make some friends, remove a few ads while surfing and much more. ClutchFans has been bringing fans together to talk Houston Sports since 1996. Join us!

Yao's restaurant taking Chinese food to new heights

Discussion in 'BBS Hangout' started by vtkp99, Feb 17, 2005.

  1. vtkp99

    vtkp99 Contributing Member

    Joined:
    Jun 30, 2002
    Messages:
    1,320
    Likes Received:
    7
    http://www.chron.com/cs/CDA/printstory.mpl/sports/bk/bkn/rox/3043849

    Feb. 17, 2005, 12:29AM

    Yao's restaurant taking Chinese food to new heights
    Rockets center's parents will run a stylish eatery and sports bar on Westheimer
    By DAI HUYNH

    The seven-figure salary. The high-powered agents. The commercial endorsement deals.

    Houston Rockets center Yao Ming has all of the above. But one fashionable hallmark of the superstar-athlete lifestyle is missing: the eponymous restaurant or sports bar.

    Michael Jordan has The Steak House N.Y.C. in Manhattan. Former Rocket Clyde Drexler has Drexler's World Famous BBQ & Grill near the Toyota Center. And don't forget Mike Ditka's Restaurant, operated by the Chicago Bears' former coach in that city's Tremont Hotel.

    Come Monday, the doors will open at Yao Restaurant and Bar, a $1.5 million Chinese eatery and sports bar at 9755 Westheimer.

    The owners are Yao's parents, father Yao Zhiyuan and mother Fang Fengdi, who own a home near Katy.

    But the son's mark is evident. The chairs in the VIP room fit his 7-foot-6-inch frame.

    The doorways are about 10 feet tall, so he or other NBA players won't need to duck.

    The walls are plastered with photos of Yao in action.

    The menu will feature Yao's favorite home-cooked dishes, as well as contemporary Chinese creations from co-owner/chef George Phou, founder of Houston's Fu's Garden.

    "The Yaos love to cook. Peking duck is a real favorite of theirs," Phou said. "Their son loves it, too, so we've hired a chef who will do nothing but Peking duck.

    "Once the restaurant opens, Mr. and Mrs. Yao will be here every day to greet guests and help them make their selections."

    Yao has a penchant for his mother's soups, including the featured slow-simmered chicken soup with shiitake mushrooms, and pork and shrimp wonton soup.

    "There will be other dishes from Shanghai, where the Yao family is from, like sautéed baby shrimp with snow pea leaves," operations manager Wendy Ju said.

    Yao's restaurant is on a commercial stretch of Westheimer, just west of South Gessner.

    The area is peppered with such established restaurants as Amazon Grill, Churrascos, Kasra Persian Grill and Benihana Japanese. The eateries draw from an eclectic mix of neighborhoods, from upscale homes along Memorial Drive to more modest dwellings near Beltway 8.

    Houston's booming Chinatown is about three miles away.

    The restaurant will seat 440, with private dining rooms and the super-sized VIP room.

    Yao's folks should feel at home in the elite lounge with private bathroom. Both are former basketball players.

    His mother, once captain of the Chinese national team and considered one of the premier centers in the world, is 6 feet 3 inches tall. His father, also a prominent player, is 6 feet 7 inches tall.

    "The custom-designed chairs from Beijing are about two sizes bigger than the rest of the furniture," Phou said. "I'm 5-11 and when I sit in a Yao Ming chair, my feet are dangling in the air."

    Adjacent to the restaurant is a sleek chrome-and-silver bar with red-and-black accents and three 70-inch televisions for Rockets game viewing.

    "We're anticipating large groups on game nights," Ju said.

    Opening a restaurant is notoriously risky, as more than one athlete has discovered.

    A successful example is Jordan's The Steak House N.Y.C., an upscale eatery overseen by celebrity chef David Walzog. With an enviable location in Grand Central Station, its future seems bright.

    Yet the restaurant actually is owned and managed by Manhattan's Glazier Group, which also operates Houston's buzz-generating Strip House.

    Olympic gold medalist Carl Lewis discovered that fans do not necessarily follow the athlete to the eatery. Lewis and his two partners opened Cafe Noir, an American fusion restaurant, on Fannin in February 1999 — and closed it 15 months later.

    And Shaquille O'Neal's plans for a restaurant, called Shaq's Place, in Orlando's Universal City fell through after his trade from Orlando to Los Angeles in 1996.

    Drexler's barbecue eatery, a modest, family-run business on Dowling since the 1960s, relocated recently to a renovated warehouse near the Toyota Center. Jumping from 60 seats to 220, the bustling establishment draws downtown workers and Rockets fans with a more varied menu that includes gumbo, fish and steaks.

    dai.huynh@chron.com
     
  2. xiki

    xiki Contributing Member

    Joined:
    Jun 18, 2002
    Messages:
    17,491
    Likes Received:
    2,883
    I'll try it 'on for size'.
     
  3. El_Conquistador

    El_Conquistador King of the D&D, The Legend, #1 Ranking
    Supporting Member

    Joined:
    Jun 11, 2002
    Messages:
    14,237
    Likes Received:
    5,205
    One would think that this move would practically ensure that Yao stays in Houston for many years.
     
  4. kaisuny

    kaisuny Contributing Member

    Joined:
    Dec 11, 2002
    Messages:
    41
    Likes Received:
    0
    Good sense.:)
     
  5. xiki

    xiki Contributing Member

    Joined:
    Jun 18, 2002
    Messages:
    17,491
    Likes Received:
    2,883
    See: Shaq / Orlando.
     
  6. Faos

    Faos Contributing Member

    Joined:
    May 31, 2003
    Messages:
    15,370
    Likes Received:
    53
    I'm looking forward to giving it a try, but I'll wait for a few weeks so they can get the kinks out.
     
  7. tiger0330

    tiger0330 Contributing Member

    Joined:
    Mar 2, 2003
    Messages:
    4,759
    Likes Received:
    63
    I hope attendance at the restaurant is better than attendance at the TC. TC attendance is atrocious, Rox playing the best BB in the league and they draw like a last place club playing in Orlando.
     
  8. gucci888

    gucci888 Contributing Member

    Joined:
    May 20, 2002
    Messages:
    17,071
    Likes Received:
    6,315
    Ya, brand new resaurants don't always make a good impression, especially chinese restaurants.
     
  9. droxford

    droxford Member

    Joined:
    Oct 26, 2001
    Messages:
    10,091
    Likes Received:
    1,531
    Man, I friggin' LOVE Fu's Garden. Now, I must go to Yao.

    -- droxford
     
  10. Gummi Clutch

    Gummi Clutch Contributing Member

    Joined:
    Jun 27, 2002
    Messages:
    3,171
    Likes Received:
    27
    I hope they got authentic food there and not the americanized buffet style crap.
     
  11. emjohn

    emjohn Contributing Member

    Joined:
    Jul 29, 2002
    Messages:
    12,132
    Likes Received:
    567
    If only lancet were here. The racism!!!!!

    :D
     
  12. Faos

    Faos Contributing Member

    Joined:
    May 31, 2003
    Messages:
    15,370
    Likes Received:
    53
    Any idea what the price range will be? I'm guessing it's semi-upscale...not of the General Joe's variety.
     
  13. jbond77

    jbond77 Contributing Member

    Joined:
    Nov 14, 2000
    Messages:
    466
    Likes Received:
    162
    could someone post a picture?
     
  14. canoner2002

    canoner2002 Contributing Member

    Joined:
    Oct 4, 2002
    Messages:
    4,069
    Likes Received:
    1
    It seats 440? Is it really necessary?
     
  15. Faos

    Faos Contributing Member

    Joined:
    May 31, 2003
    Messages:
    15,370
    Likes Received:
    53

    [​IMG]

    You can see pics here:

    http://yaorestaurant.com/
     
  16. Faos

    Faos Contributing Member

    Joined:
    May 31, 2003
    Messages:
    15,370
    Likes Received:
    53
    Ever been to Kim Son's on a weekend? It's packed.
     
  17. canoner2002

    canoner2002 Contributing Member

    Joined:
    Oct 4, 2002
    Messages:
    4,069
    Likes Received:
    1
    That is kim son.
     
  18. tiger0330

    tiger0330 Contributing Member

    Joined:
    Mar 2, 2003
    Messages:
    4,759
    Likes Received:
    63
    I wonder if the Yao's are going to be full time residents in the states. If his parents reside in the states year round, Yao will probably spend a few months in the off season in Houston. He could use that time to get his game together.
     
  19. vtkp99

    vtkp99 Contributing Member

    Joined:
    Jun 30, 2002
    Messages:
    1,320
    Likes Received:
    7
    Which one? they got 4 of them, about to be 5
     
  20. Mr Boo

    Mr Boo Contributing Member

    Joined:
    Nov 7, 2003
    Messages:
    917
    Likes Received:
    2
    When I visit Houston, this is gonna be one of the restaurants I'm gonna hit...can't wait!
     

Share This Page

  • About ClutchFans

    Since 1996, ClutchFans has been loud and proud covering the Houston Rockets, helping set an industry standard for team fan sites. The forums have been a home for Houston sports fans as well as basketball fanatics around the globe.

  • Support ClutchFans!

    If you find that ClutchFans is a valuable resource for you, please consider becoming a Supporting Member. Supporting Members can upload photos and attachments directly to their posts, customize their user title and more. Gold Supporters see zero ads!


    Upgrade Now