By Claire Harlin
King's Garden, which has been a staple Chinese restaurant in the Solana Beach community for nearly 30 years, will close around late November.
The restaurant, owned by husband-wife duo John and Jaw Lih Lee, was one of several Chinese restaurants when it opened at 280 Lomas Santa Fe Drive in 1982, but many have closed, making King's Garden one of the only Chinese food options for many years. Now residents will have to look a little harder for take-out, which John Lee said makes up about 35 percent of his clientele.
“We’ve seen so many people, sometimes three generations. They come in as kids and then grow up and come back with their kids,” said Lee. “We will really miss our customers. They are so nice here and we will miss their support.”
Lee said closing the restaurant was not an easy decision but, at 63, he and his wife are tired.
“After 30 years, it’s just time for us to take a break,” he said. “We’ve been working so many years. We haven’t had time for a break.”
Lee and his wife came to the United States from Taiwan in the late 1970s, and immediately began working, so they have never had a chance to travel the country.
He said he is not sure if he will work in the restaurant business again, but he is sure that he’s going to take it easy for a while.
“I want to visit my family in Taiwan, and I want a chance to see the U.S.,” he said.
King's Garden serves traditional Chinese and Szechuan cuisine, and is known for dishes like Mongolian beef, Peking duck, pot stickers, sizzling rice soup and Crystal Shrimp. The restaurant offers daily lunch and dinner specials. For more information, call (858) 755-0421.