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Interview: Chris Tsui

ConversationElizabeth SobkaComment
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Chris Tsui of EAT Restaurant Partners
Chris Tsui of EAT Restaurant Partners

We are always interested in and inspired by other people who choose to run their businesses in Richmond. In the case of Chris Tsui, he doesn’t just run one business, but five restaurants in and around Richmond. In the last 11 years, Tsui of EAT Restaurant Partners has made Richmond a more vibrant and delicious place to live, so today we get inside his head to learn more about this serial restaurant entrepreneur.

First off, can you list all the restaurants you own in Richmond and how long they’ve been open?

Our first restaurant was Osaka Sushi in Henrico, which we opened 11 years ago. Then came Wild Ginger, a Pan-Asian restaurant in Midlothian seven years ago. Three years later we stepped out of our comfort zone and opened Blue Goat, a low-country, neo-southern restaurant in the heart of Richmond on Grove. One year after that, we opened Fat Dragon, a Chinese restaurant on North Boulevard and finally our latest effort is Foo Dog, which serves Asian Street Food right on Main Street in downtown Richmond.

Tell us more about why you decided to open Osaka Sushi 11 years ago and why you chose Richmond for your first restaurant.

I had been living in New York City for several years, and I had a lot of relatives there who were in the restaurant business. My time there and with them inspired me to get back into the business myself. Having my own store seemed inevitable.

I came to the US at a very young age, and my parents settled in Richmond. This city has been my home ever since - I’ve been here for over four decades. The decision to open the restaurant here was easy - the people in Richmond are the most inspiring and the city is always changing and growing, while remembering its traditions and history.

What’s your favorite thing to order at all of your restaurants?

Wild Ginger - Ribeye with Malaysian rub & a bottle of red

Blue Goat - Fish Tacos

Fat Dragon - Enter the Dragon

Foo Dog - Malaysian Ramen

What’s a typical day in the life of a serial restaurant owner?

Up by 6:30, hit the gym, then to my office for the rest of the morning. I’ll have a lunch meeting at one of the stores, then back to the office. I’ll stop by one of the other stores in the evening, if needed, but I have a great management staff and I’m usually not needed.

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Who is inspiring you and what are you obsessing over?

Stephen Starr has some incredible concepts. And Chicago - they have some really great food and concepts. And of course, my daughter, Lizze.

What do you want your business to look like in 10 years?

I want it to be consistent and recognizable 10 years from now. I’d also like for it to be in a place where I can have someone else take over the reigns!

Final question - we’re coming over for a dinner party. What’s your go-to wine?

Burgundies from Albert Bichot.