Not again!

In the two years since Sam’s Kitchen went up in flames, we haven’t heard too much about massive blazes destroying businesses. But now, it’s happened again, and coincidentally, to another restaurant just a hop, skip, and jump up Route 29.

The fire at Chiang House started some time late on Friday, March 8. A few employees noticed smoke at around 2am on Saturday morning, March 9, and soon a full force fire was in effect. It took firefighters from five stations several hours to extinguish the flames, but not before the building, valued at more than $200,000, was demolished.

Dish couldn’t reach the owner, Jong Chiang, before presstime, but word from County spokesperson Lee Catlin is that no cause has yet been determined.

As of Monday, March 11, the Fire Marshall’s office was camped at the Chiang House site, trying to pick through the rubble with cranes and other heavy equipment.

“It’s slow work,” says Catlin, promising to let us know the minute an answer is found.

An open letter from Chiang in Tuesday’s Daily Progress gives thanks to all those who responded to the blaze and gives Chiang House patrons reason for hope: “We will rebuild and come back soon,” Chiang promises.

We hope that includes restocking the interior pond holding koi, those giant goldfish. For the Dish, the bridge over the koi pool just inside the entrance was one of the neatest things at any local restaurant. Poor koi.


Happier news

We’d like to make something clear— actually, crystal clear: There’s a new restaurant on Emmet Street in the former La Rue de Chine/Goodfella’s spot.

Crystal’s Authentic Vietnamese Cuisine and Bar opened on Friday, March 8, and will serve “homestyle Vietnamese fare,” according to Kynnie Huynh, who co-owns the restaurant with Mike Zhu.

Huynh has been in the restaurant business for six years, and most recently worked at Dragon Lady; Zhu worked at Great Wall.

Named for Huynh’s 16-month-old niece, Crystal’s will be open for lunch and dinner seven days a week, and in true family style, Huynh’s aunt will do the cooking.

Dish hopes Crystal’s fares better than its predecessors: La Rue de Chine was open a mere three months before closing down December 31, a fact owner Jin W. Ho, owner of Sakura and Flaming Wok attributed to financial woes. But Crystal’s has at least one thing going for it: entrees will average $8-10, as opposed to La Rue de Chine’s often $25-plus entrees, so perhaps it will appeal to a broader audience.

As for Goodfella’s, we don’t know the exact reason for its demise, but we just hope it had nothing to do with a good old fashioned pair of cement boots…



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