Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Botetourt gets its first sitdown Chinese restaurant

By Anita Firebaugh

DALEVILLE – Botetourt County’s only dine-in Chinese restaurant, CL Asia, offers patrons a splendid buffet for lunch. Diners can enjoy a variety of favorites such as General Tso’s chicken, sweet and sour chicken, fried rice and other delectable fare. Lunch specials are also available, along with take out.

The establishment, which opened in June, is located at Botetourt Commons in Daleville.

Yuan Chen, 22, is the young owner of the new CL Asia, a Chinese restaurant located in Botetourt Commons. It opened in June. Photo by Anita Firebaugh

Yuan Chen, 22, is the young owner of the new CL Asia, a Chinese restaurant located in Botetourt Commons. It opened in June. Photo by Anita Firebaugh

The new restaurant seats 49 and owner Yuan Chen offers an extensive dinner menu featuring chef’s suggestions such as Peking Duck, which is duckling roasted in a special sauce and served with pancakes, spring onions and plum sauce, and Dragon & Phoenix, which is jumbo shrimp with fresh vegetables in wine sauce along with General Tso’s Chicken.

CL Asia offers up a nice atmosphere, with the windows tastefully blocked from pedestrian traffic to give diners privacy. Carpeting and traditional decorations help keep sounds to a minimum so that the meal can be enjoyed without excess noise.

A Chinese buffet at lunch at the new CL Asia, located in Botetourt Commons, gives Daleville diners a new option for lunch. The buffet is available from 11:30 a.m. - 2 p.m.  Tuesday  through Saturday, and from 12 p.m to 2 p.m. on Sunday, when the buffet carries sushi. The dinner menu is available until 10 p.m. Photo by Anita Firebaugh

A Chinese buffet at lunch at the new CL Asia, located in Botetourt Commons, gives Daleville diners a new option for lunch. The buffet is available from 11:30 a.m. - 2 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday, and from 12 p.m to 2 p.m. on Sunday, when the buffet carries sushi. The dinner menu is available until 10 p.m. Photo by Anita Firebaugh

But it is Chen that patrons may want to speak with, if only to hear his story. The young man, 22, came to America in 2005 when he was not yet an adult. He moved to Virginia because his father had been here for almost 15 years, having come to help an uncle run a restaurant. His mother followed her husband in 2005 and they established their own restaurant in the Smith Mountain Lake area.

“I have a lot of family in America right now,” Chen said.

Chen, meanwhile, studied the restaurant business in China until he could follow his father to a new land. He initially thought he would become a chef, but found “kitchen work too tiring,” he said. He then switched to restaurant management.

When he came to America he discovered that the educational processes differed greatly. Though he had been enrolled in China in courses similar to America’s community colleges, language barriers and other factors meant he could not find similar education here. Instead, he enrolled in high school, where he was placed in the ninth grade. He graduated from Franklin County High School in 2009 at the age of 21, he said.

He then decided to open his own restaurant and began looking for a location within one hour of his Smith Mountain Lake home.

Upon learning that Daleville had no dine-in Chinese restaurant, he knew he had found his site. He pushed to open in June and he continues to refine operations. Most recently he obtained his ABC license and he has changed his hours to close on Mondays. He currently has six employees and has a sign in the window advertising for additional help.

His father, he said, has helped him tremendously as he has learned to run his own establishment. He’s also ramping up the social networking, creating a Facebook page and accessing iPod applications and otherwise using technology to his advantage.

His opening month has been okay, he said. Seats are not yet full at dinner but he says the warm weather has been an issue. “People eat more Chinese in winter,” he said. Many people have told him it’s simply too hot to eat a full meal right now.

He laughed when asked about the name of his restaurant.  “Many people have mispronounced it,” he said. “I have heard some call it Clasia.”

It is pronounced “C. L. Asia,” he said. The C is for his father’s last name, Chen, and the L is for his mother’s family, Lin.

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7 Responses to “Botetourt gets its first sitdown Chinese restaurant”

  1. LINDA PEDIGO

    This restaurant looks neat and clean inside which is a good thing. Today, however, the thermometer is nearing 97 degrees outside and the two thermostats on the wall inside showed 87 and 89 degrees.
    The food was not good enough, average I would say, for me to visit again. There were seven people working in the front of this place, who knows how many in back. I think they needed less people standing (mostly a buffet and I only saw one person order from the menu) and more money spent on the a/c. I tried to tell a man and a girl it was too hot to eat but was ignored.
    Their spring rolls are called egg rolls, they have no crab wontons, the cookies are soggy (macaroon), the cantalope warm and tasteless. There was no beef and broccoli if you love it as I do.
    I hate it but feel they will not make it. I loved having my chair pulled out UNTIL I realized I would be eating in 87 degree heat. I was not the only customer eating with a red face (heat) and I paid $8.33 WAYYYYYYY too much for lunch.

    #2567
  2. Barbara

    I haven’t been here yet but am looking forward to it.

    A couple of comments on the above post:

    Spring rolls and egg rolls are two different things. Spring rolls usually have a much thinner skin (shell) than egg rolls — almost like a piece of phyllo dough.

    Beef and broccoli is not really a Chinese dish – it is something made up by Americans like Chop Suey. Most Chinese restaurants carry it now because western tastes demand it; however, I can certainly understand not including it if the owner is going for more traditional Asian dishes.

    I commisserate on the temperature. I would not have enjoyed eating in almost 90 degree heat inside. Possibly there was some malfunction?

    Finally, $8.33 is too much for lunch? Wow. I was paying $4.00 for a made up plate of food from a Chinese restaurant at the food court in the mall where I worked in 1985. Back then, minimum wage was $3.35/hr., I think. Most of the restaurants in Botetourt Co. that I have visited charge $5 – $8 for just a sandwich and french fries. $8.33 sounds like a deal for an all you can eat buffet.

    #2660
  3. mlf

    I have been there three times and all three times me and my family have been greated with wonderful service and if there wasnt something on the buffet we wanted the owner said to ask for it and he would put it out which he did the food is great and havent had one bad thing yet from there!

    #2668
  4. -Thomas

    I have also been there three times, all three times being call in, and take out.

    The first two times were great, the spring rolls were excellent, the Calamari cooked to perfection, and the Chicken fried rice absolutely delicious with a little soy sauce.

    The third, and most recent time, my take out was not quite as good as I remembered. The spring rolls tasted fine, but the calamari was a bit soft and didn’t taste as fresh as it did in the previous visits. I did not order rice in this visit, just because I wasn’t feeling as hungry. For some reason, I kept smelling an “off” smell around the bag in both my car and at home, as though something was bad.

    I’m not complaining really, and plan to go back sometime soon, just thought I would share both my good and bad experiences.

    #2743
  5. Tia

    I just ate at CL Asia today for the first time with my mother. The service was great and the food was amazing. I live about five minutes from the restauraunt and I will diffently be going to eat there again soon.

    #7068
  6. Gary

    In a word ….Quality. The food on the Lunch buffet is being brought out constantly hot and fresh. Service could’t be friendlier. Dinner is a great value with nice touches. We asked for something we remembered from the buffet and they were happy to oblige.

    If you’re tired of those crowded loud Chinese buffets give this place a try.

    #9307
  7. Phil

    I had heard great thing about this restaurant and I finally had a chance to try it out. I just have one thing to say…. Awesome!!! I can’t wait to go back!!

    #28902

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