Thursday, April 17, 2014
Renowned Sichuan chef Peter Chang and his business partner, Gen Lee, are about to expand their Virginia presence with a new restaurant in Williamsburg. Lee says they’ve just signed a lease for an 8,000-square-foot building on Richmond Road that used to house Wasabi Oriental Buffet.

That’s more than double the size of the Short Pump location (just 3,000 square feet), which has been mobbed with customers ever since it opened in February. (Click here to see my colleague Brandon Fox's column on Chang.) “A lot of our regular customers have to wait [45 minutes or longer],” Lee says. “It’s kind of embarrassing.” With soaring temperatures outside, the crowds in the restaurant have also put a strain on the air-conditioning system, he says.

Asked how Chang himself will divide his time between restaurants (including the one in Charlottesville), Lee says six master chefs are coming from China to work with him. Three are already here, and one of them, chef Wen-Qiang Huang, is the executive chef at Peter Chang China Café in Short Pump. Huang has worked side-by-side with Chang for 23 years, Lee says. One of the chefs is a master pastry chef, as is Chang’s wife, Lisa, he adds.

The new Peter Chang restaurant in Williamsburg is set to open Oct. 1. Meanwhile, the partners are working on finding a second location in the Richmond area. Lee says they have two places in mind — one downtown and one in Chesterfield County.  To be called Peter Chang Dim Sum and Noodles, it will serve house-made noodles and pasta with an open kitchen so customers can watch.

“We haven’t signed anything yet,” he says. “We decided the second one near Richmond will be nice. We want everyone to be more comfortable.”


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