WEST FARGO — A partnership of family and friends now has six eateries in the Fargo-Moorhead area with the recent opening of Mr Wok Chinese Express and an Ice Point Thai rolled ice cream parlor in West Fargo.
John Weng, the spokesman for the ownership group, said the last 10 years have seen strong, steady growth for their businesses, which include Samurai Japanese Cuisine, two Izumi Sushi and Hibachi restaurants, and the first Ice Point shop at the West Acres mall.
"We know what we're doing, let's put it that way," Weng said Tuesday, July 2.
The West Fargo eateries opened May 6 in the strip mall at 816 24th Ave. E., just south of Costco on the west side of Veterans Boulevard.
Weng partners with his brother-in-law Scott Chen and lifelong friend Steven Lin. Samurai was their first business in the area.
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“The last few years, we’ve been growing pretty strong,” Weng said.
Weng said he and his partners see a lack of competition and plenty of room for expansion in Fargo-Moorhead for fast Chinese food. Opening Mr Wok and their second Ice Point in West Fargo was the right choice, given the city’s growth.
”Competition-wise, I think we can do better. We’re confident we can,” Weng said. “Business keeps going up each day. People keep coming back.”
Both West Fargo stores have the clean, well-thought-out look of many larger franchise operations. Weng said it’s too early to think about franchising the idea - yet.
“A lot of people ask me, ‘Why don’t you come to Bismarck? Why don’t you come to Grand Forks? I say, we haven’t done Fargo yet. We have to finish it,” Weng said.
He said he and his partners have encouraged friends and family to move to Fargo-Moorhead to keep the restaurants fully staffed.
“You can’t do everything yourself,” Weng said.
Mr Wok offers a wide of authentic Chinese dishes, including kung pao chicken, moo shu pork, beef with black pepper and young chow fried rice. Customers can get their favorites served in combination platters, or in larger take-out portions. There is plenty of seating at the restaurant (including an outdoor patio), or diners can order online or pick up their food through the store’s drive-through.
Weng said Ice Point has been a good pairing with Mr Wok, and very popular now that summer has arrived.
The made-to-order Thai-style ice cream (there are 10 flavor combinations listed) is made on an ultra-cold chilling surface (minus-19 to minus-23 degrees). Workers pour the ice cream mixture onto the round metal plate, chop the additional ingredients into the mix, then spread it into a thin layer, before stripping off rolls of the tasty chilled treat. A choice of more than 20-plus toppings can then be added.
The shop also served bubble teas, fruit teas, smoothies and slushes.