China Garden marks 20 years serving Avon
Avon, CO Colorado
AVON, Colorado ” Sharon Mou is so dedicated to her job i9n Avon, Colorado that the only reason she goes home is to shower and sleep, she says.
The rest of the time, you can find her in her restaurant, China Garden. What she’s doing depends on the situation ” she could be waiting on customers, prepping food or cleaning the kitchen and bathroom. ” The only thing I don’t know how to do is cook,” she said. “We do everything.”
It has been that way for 20 years, since she opened up the restaurant with her hus-band, David. The couple is celebrating the restaurant’s anniversary this month.
It’s hard for her to say how the couple’s stayed in business so long. It hasn’t been easy, though.
When Mou opened up in 1988, she said her property tax bill was about $3,500. Today, it’s closer to $14,000. Food costs have gone up considerably, and the restau-rant’s location ” inconspicuously tucked away inside the Lodge at Avon Center ” hasn’t exactly helped stir up new business. “If you’re not looking for me, you won’t find us,” Mou said.
She relies mostly on word-of-mouth and returning customers to stay relevant amid new development and increased competi-tion. So it’s the highest order, she said, to make sure her customers are kept happy and wanting to come back.
“I tell my staff, ‘When you cook, put the love in there,'” she said. “Everybody works hard for their money; they deserve a match.”
Mou has stuck by those priniciples from the start. About five years ago, she started using cooking oil with no trans-fat. She pays extra for fresh vegetables. She doesn’t believe in preservatives, and everything ” including the noodles and sauces set on the dining tables ” is made from scratch.
“I eat here three times a day. I want my customers to get what I get,” Mou said.
According to frequent China Garden din-er Austin Curt, the restaurant is one of a kind.
“I think it’s a rare location, where I feel an emotional response and closeness with the owners,” he said. ” They’re great people, and it comes through. It’s rare to find.”
Curt said he loves everything about the restaurant, from the owners to the atmos-phere to the food.
Meghan D’Abrosca does too, but Satur-day night she was particularly enjoying the plum sake in front of her.
“It’s eclectic to get a plum sake here ” I’m totally digging it,” the Edwards resident said. “It’s the best I’ve had in the valley.”
That’s the response Mou has sought the past two decades, and in most cases, that’s what she gets.
“I cannot complain,” Mou said. ” I love this place.”