Local Resident to Open Ramen Shop

Wallingford offers a variety of dining opportunities, with restaurants centered around Italian, Chinese, Spanish, Japanese, and Mexican cuisine all within the confinements of town. One local resident hopes to add to this array of dining opportunities: Tommy Zhou, a Wallingford resident, has plans to open Peking Blvd Asian Bistro by the beginning of 2018.

According to Zhou, Peking Blvd Asian Bistro will be a ramen shop. Among competing Asian cuisine restaurants, Zhou hopes to offer a unique and distinguishable experience to customers. He explained, “Certainly there are a lot of Chinese restaurants, but I feel at a lot of Chinese restaurants, there is more of a take-out type of deal. They’re not able to accommodate a sit-down experience.” Zhou also aspires to develop a menu that appeals to younger crowds. For example, he is hoping to sell a ramen burger. He aims to offer a menu that has a “kind of Asian taste, but still has that American kick to it.”

Zhou currently operates Pacific Buffet and Grill, located on Ives Road. He’s been in the restaurant business for 20 years and has been the owner of a successful and popular restaurant for 12 years. Zhou has had plentiful experience working in take-out and buffet restaurants, and he graduated from CCI, the Connecticut Culinary Institute. He immigrated to the United States from Fuzhou, China and settled in Connecticut around 2005, where he and his wife raised two sons.

Situated between Route 5 and North Main Street Extension, construction for Zhou’s new restaurant is well underway. It is located a short distance from many popular destinations for consumers, including Starbucks, Stop & Shop, Dunkin Donuts, Holiday Cinemas 14, Wallingford Bowl, Walmart, and several more. Route 5 draws many consumers from surrounding towns, bringing much-wanted traffic to the area. Meanwhile, North Main Street Extension provides easy access for Wallingford residents to destinations in one of the most frequented commercial areas in central Connecticut. Above all, consumers often seek Wallingford’s dining options on Route 5. Carly Jacobs, a student at Lyman Hall High School, remarked, “Wallingford residents have a wide array of restaurants to choose from. All over town there are bits of different cultural cuisines to choose from.” For members of the Choate community, Peking Blvd Asian Bistro will only be a short walk from campus!

One of Zhou’s main objectives is to draw a sizeable crowd to his business. Regarding the restaurant business, Zhou explained, “Basically, this business is word of mouth. If you’re doing something right, you attract more customers.” When Zhou first opened Pacific Buffet and Grill, he explained that “In the beginning there were not that many customers. After a few weeks, things started to kick off. Everybody starting noticing who we are and what kind of food we have.”

Zhou’s inspiration for opening Peking Blvd Asian Bistro originated from a visit to his home country. After returning from a vacation to China in 2016, Zhou was motivated to consider opening a new restaurant. “I got ambitious!” he joked. In the spot that Zhou will open his business, Siam Valee, a Thai restaurant, recently closed. Located in the building adjacent to his other business, the recently opened space was a perfect opportunity for Zhou.

In contrast to the restaurant that he currently operates, Zhou commented, “I think there will be more younger crowds. That is what I’m trying to focus on: from young teens to mid-30 to 40 year olds.” Zhou feels that while his buffet restaurant caters to families and younger children, Peking Blvd Asian Bistro will aim to serve younger restaurant-goers.

Regarding opening the new business, Zhou concluded, “It was something that I always wanted to do: to do something like an Asian type of restaurant with more of a modern taste to it.” More specifically, Zhou added, “I want the presentation cleaner and a better dining environment that is more attractive to customers.” Above all, Zhou will be committed to operating a restaurant that adds meaningfully to Wallingford’s diverse dining options.

 

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