The longtime Chinese buffet on Route 9 operated by Monty Liu is open under new ownership with a new name.
Liu closed the restaurant in December and said a former employee was preparing to take over the business.
Liu said in 2012 he was looking to exit the restaurant business, after two decades, and focus efforts on his liquor store down the road next to Walmart on Route 9, known for being open until midnight.
The former Chinatown employee was 30-year-old Melanie Zeng. She reopened the buffet as 9 Dragons Chinese Restaurant on June 18. She is planning a grand opening celebration for the fall.
Zeng’s uncle, Joe Zheng, is the chef with 10 years of experience as an executive chef at Chinese restaurants in New York City and two years as a sushi chef, Zeng said.
Zheng’s experience allows the restaurant to diversify its buffet menu and include sushi options.
Zeng said “9 Dragons” fit because of the restaurant’s location on Route 9, and the number nine symbolizes longevity.
“I think she’s a hard worker. Anyone who is a hard worker is going to make it,” Liu said, also praising “Uncle Joe’s” experience.
Zeng said she moved to the United States from China in 2007. When Liu hired her about three years ago to work at Chinatown, she never expected she’d be in charge, she said, adding that the experience is her “American Dream.”
She said gift cards and coupons for Chinatown will be honored at 9 Dragons.
The restaurant has some new fixtures but still seats 216 people and has a banquet room.
She said she utilized her own savings and family money to invest in the business but did not disclose a dollar amount.
Liu sold the property last year to Jerry Nudi, the founder of Warren Electric Supply.
Zeng is subleasing the building from Liu.
She said the dinner includes more seafood options such as calamari and snow crab legs.
Prices: Lunch buffet (includes soft drink): $8.99
Dinner buffet (includes soft drink): $14.99
Takeout: Lunch: $5.99 per pound
Dinner: $6.99 per pound
Hours: 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. Monday through Saturday
noon to 10 p.m. Sunday