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While a little behind the planned opening date (but said to be right on budget), Wang's North Park restaurant will have a “soft opening” on November 21, said co-owner and operator Joel Herzer in a November 16 interview; a grand opening is planned for January.

Energy-efficient kitchen appliances and lighting have been installed in the former JCPenney's building at the intersection of University Avenue and Ray Street, according to Herzer. To prevent sewer blockages, the restaurant installed double grease traps. The flooring, which at first glance appears artificial, is made of bamboo.

Herzer still lives in Palm Springs. He and co-owner Tom Eads have made many trips here to supervise the work. While Wang's in the Desert (the Palm Springs restaurant owned by Eads and Herzer) has a river theme, Wang's North Park has a tree theme with a huge metal tree sculpture in the center of the restaurant.

Herzer said District 3 councilmember Todd Gloria, other councilmembers, and North Park Main Street officials are among those invited to the opening.

Wang's is currently the largest restaurant project in North Park in terms of building size and budget amount. The $1,775,001 total consists of a $500,000 forgivable loan from the San Diego Redevelopment Agency, $450,001 from owner equity, and an $825,000 bank loan.

The $500,000 in redevelopment money was approved in June 2010 by 8 of 11 North Park Redevelopment Project Area Committee (PAC) members. Three of the PAC members, including the chair, voted against approval.

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Comments

Founder Nov. 16, 2011 @ 2:45 p.m.

Wang's has gone out of their way to be "neighborhood friendly", which includes providing off street parking for their employees and also hiring from North Park!

Welcome to NP!

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dwbat Nov. 16, 2011 @ 3:53 p.m.

Yes, I did ask if any employees were brought in from Palm Springs. Herzer said no; all were hired locally. I popped into the kitchen briefly, and new chef Richard Torres was already at work.

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Founder Nov. 19, 2011 @ 11:29 a.m.

Last night, many of North Park locals, happily not just the politically well connected, were invited to an Invitation-Only dinner, which was used as a training for Wang's staff. For all those lucky enough to attended, it provided a glimpse of the incredible level of service that Wang's will provide it's patrons!

As mentioned in the comment above, it was wonderful to see so many local residents of North Park working at Wang's. Kudos to the Owners of Wang's for their practice of hiring locally first, something which has already made them a "Neighborhood Friendly" business. Because many of their staff will be able to walk and or cycle to work, it will protect local parking in the nearby residential neighborhood while reducing congestion on our local streets. The owners of Wang's have also committed to providing parking for their employees living outside NP, in the nearby North Park Parking Garage, which is something too few other NP Business owners do.

I predict that Wang's North Park will not only set a new standard for fine dining in the Mid-City but they will also put North Park on the map, as THE new restaurant destination in San Diego County!

I was told Wang's official Grand Opening is scheduled for January 2012, and if the training was any indication, their Grand Opening will be a must attend event!

I suggest that you experience Wang's for yourself, it will be a wonderful adventure!

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dwbat Nov. 19, 2011 @ 6:43 p.m.

What attracted me to do the story was not just a new restaurant. Those open all the time. It was the renovation and reuse of a decayed and abandoned eyesore-building in the heart of North Park. It brings new vitality to the corner of University and Ray St.

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nan shartel Nov. 19, 2011 @ 7:44 p.m.

how exciting...lets hope it does well ;-D

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SanCarlosGuy Dec. 3, 2011 @ 12:45 p.m.

Their Palm Springs location is a landmark. Wonder when they'll open for dinners?

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dwbat Dec. 3, 2011 @ 1:11 p.m.

I think they open at 5 p.m. for dinner.

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dwbat Dec. 20, 2011 @ 1 p.m.

The Yelp reviews have been mostly very favorable, although several mentioned the noise level inside is a bit high. Maybe they should add some acoustical sound-absorbing material to the ceiling and/or walls.

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dwbat April 7, 2013 @ 12:31 p.m.

Or buy a whole bunch of Pillsbury Doughboys, and place them around the restaurant! That might work, as long as they don't start laughing.

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