New look for Canton House

After 20 years in business, local Chinese restaurant remodels

Posted: Monday, April 07, 2003

Celebrating 20 years in the restaurant business in Juneau, the Canton House reopened March 27 with a new look, new chefs and an expanded menu.

"The restaurant was originally (current owner Gino Kuang's) father's, so this is kind of in honor of the 20 years of effort that he put in previously," said Canton House manager Heather Howard. Kuang works as the head chef in the restaurant.

The owners closed the restaurant for the work Jan. 27. Northern Lights Development was the primary contractor on the project, with Jeremy Bauer doing the interior decoration.

"They had an idea of wanting to upscale the whole dining experience there at the restaurant," Bauer said.

The new floor and counters in the Canton House entryway are made of granite, and a rock river waterfall stands behind the hostess, Howard said. Traditional Japanese room dividers called shoji screens have been placed throughout the restaurant.

"It has that neat Asian feel to it," she said.

In addition to the new decor in the main dining room, the Canton House has added what it calls the Bamboo Room, where it will serve sushi.

"It has bamboo floors, a bar top with strips of poplar glued and clamped together, plasma TVs," Howard said. The TVs were intended for sports and digital music shows, but have been tuned to the news in recent weeks.

Two chefs, one from the Los Angeles area and one from San Francisco, have moved to Juneau to work at the restaurant, and are in the process of creating the menu.

"We hope to have the sushi bar open mid- to late-May," Howard said. In the meantime, diners can try new dishes available on the main menu, such as Asian salads and a lunch special of the customer's choice of three stir-fried vegetables and rice.

The remodeling project cost the restaurant around $250,000, Howard said.

"We're very nervous because the war thing was not something that we anticipated when we set off," she said.

Prices at the restaurant have been increased by 25 cents per dish.

"We hadn't done a price increase in eight years, so we had to keep up with the times," Howard said.

Christine Schmid can be reached at cschmid@juneauempire.com.



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