Restaurant makeover

The owners of Shiso Japanese Restaurant in Red Deer hope to duplicate their culinary success next door.

The owners of Shiso Japanese Restaurant in Red Deer hope to duplicate their culinary success next door.

Edward Li and Sunny Deng recently purchased Jasmine Palace restaurant, which was in the same building as Shiso and Post Time Lounge at 3731 Gaetz Ave. After closing for a week, they reopened the business on Monday as Red Star Chinese Restaurant.

Red Star will focus on high-quality, authentic Chinese food, said Li. He believes there’s a need for this type of food.

The menu will include Cantonese and north-China-style food, said Li. Customers will recognize some entrees from the restaurant’s Jasmine Palace days, with other, traditional dishes added.

Four certified chefs have been hired to prepare the food, said Li. Buffet meals have been discontinued.

In addition to cosmetic changes to the interior of the restaurant, a pair of private rooms with space for eight and 10 diners respectively are being added. There is also a party room that can accommodate up to 30.

Li immigrated to Canada 16 years ago. He learned Japanese cooking and in 1999 opened a restaurant in Edmonton.

It was named one of the top 10 eating spots in that city, he said.

Red Deer’s small size and the lack of Japanese cuisine here prompted Li to move here and open Shiso. Deng, who had trained under him in Edmonton, joined Li.

Demand has increased steadily over the years, with one of Shiso’s suppliers telling Li that it’s now one of the busiest Japanese restaurants in Alberta. He attributes this success to Shiso’s focus on quality, and believes the same strategy will work for Red Star.

Li said he and Deng considered other parts of the city for a new restaurant, but like the location of their existing business.

He acknowledged that operating two restaurants will provide some benefits, such as economies of scale when ordering supplies. However, Shiso and Red Star will operate independent of each other.

Red Star Chinese Restaurant is open Monday to Thursday from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m., Friday and Saturday from 11 a.m. to 11 p.m., and Sunday from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m.