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Café Asia owners have downsized to the smaller Asian Wok, but the flavors are still big

Tuesday, February 23 2021 3:20 PM

Yook and Mike Gan have been in the Wichita restaurant business for 23 years, and they’re ready to slow down.

After 20 years of running their popular restaurant, Asian Wok located in the Normandie Center, on New Year’s Eve they closed it down. However, they have now moved and taken over the space formerly occupied by Rita’s Italian Ice – right next to the Five Guys at the Comotara Center on north Rock Road.

John Potts with Landmark Commercial Property Management manages both the Normandie and Comotara Center, and was instrumental in the process of helping the Gan’s find their next space.

They’ve been quietly serving to-go order for the past couple of weeks to keep it quiet lest Wichita Eagle readers slam them with business they weren’t ready for.

But as of this weekend, the new restaurant, Asian Wok, is now fully up and running. The dining room is even open, with just five tables. There is also a small outdoor seating area that will be able to accommodate dinners when the weather warms up.

The new restaurant represents a bit of compromise for the work-a-holic couple. Their grueling schedule at the much large Café Asia had gotten to be too much, and they often talked of retirement. But when it came down to it, both decided they couldn’t sit still.

They found a partner and a good deal on the space at the Comotara Center, and initially, they planned to open a small, upscale fine dining restaurant. Then, the COVID-19 pandemic hit and that no longer seemed like a good idea, Yook said. The concept they came up with allows them to continue to feed their customers on a smaller scale they feel they can better control.

The Gan’s goal, they say, is to get the new restaurant on its feet and then maybe step away in five or so years. But it’s a difficult picture once you see these two in action.

The restaurant’s hours – 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. seven days a week and 4 p.m. to 8 p.m. Tuesday’s through Saturdays – are only temporary. Yook says she will most likely eliminate some hours so she can tend to their little garden she and Mike plan to plant in a patch just outside the restaurant’s front door. She’ll need a day to focus on her plants, and she’s already warning customers.

Because it’s just the couple in the kitchen, Yook warns that it’s best to call ahead for carryout. Asian Wok is not like a typical carryout place where items can be ready in 10-15 minutes.

Full article by Denise Niel from The Wichita Eagle

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