Mexican-Asian fusion restaurant Wong Gonzalez to open on East Grace Street in June

by | May 25, 2016 | POLITICS

The entrepreneurs behind local group, Eat Restaurant Partners, are adding to their ever-expanding local portfolio with a restaurant on E. Grace Street, slated to open in June.

The entrepreneurs behind local group, Eat Restaurant Partners, are adding to their ever-expanding local portfolio with a restaurant on E. Grace Street, slated to open in June.

Wong Gonzalez will be a Mexican-Asian fusion concept that aims to bring an untraditional dining experience, combine the flavors of Latin American and Asian cuisine.

“Think of a Mexican dish like a taco or burrito with Chinese flavors, then think of stir fry or a dumpling with Latin ingredients like cilantro and chili peppers,” said co-owner Chris Staples. “There aren’t going to be any dishes with straight Mexican or straight Chinese food.”

Shrimp and Grilled Mango tacos

The makeup of the restaurant itself aims to be unique with the setup being visually appealing and embodying nuances of Asian and Latin culture.

“There will be some elements that might feel western, but I would say it’s going to be a mostly contemporary feel,” Staples said. “I would say, if Clint Eastwood were to open up a restaurant, this might be the type of restaurant he would open up.”

Aside from the Mexican-Asian food fare, Staples said the bar area of Wong Gonzalez is going to be a major feature.

Zupa de Agrio e Caliente

“We’re going to have a really cool bar program, 24 drafts,” he said. “We’re going to have cold press coffee on draft, we’re going to have a large wine selection on draft.”

Staples is a partner alongside owner Chris Tsui and Ren Mefford, director of Operations. Together the three make up Eat Restaurant Partners.

Wong Gonzalez will be the seventh restaurant for the group here in Richmond. Eat Restaurant Partners owns Foo Dog, which opened in the Fan two years ago, Osaka, which opened on Huguenot Road in 2005, Blue Goat which opened on Grove Avenue in 2010, Wild Ginger, which opened in Midlothian in 2008, Fat Dragon, which opened on the Boulevard in 2012, and most recently, Boulevard, Burger & Brew which opened earlier this year.

With over 10 years in the restaurant scene under their belts, Staples said Eat Restaurant Partners prides itself on bringing a top-notch, but laid back experience to the customer.

“We really try to create an environment where people feel relaxed and comfortable and unpretentious,” he said. “An inviting atmosphere where we really focus on the guest experience.”

The business partners are hoping that the success of their fellow local restaurants will draw locals to the new place.

“We’ve hopefully set the bar kind of high, and sometimes you have to go beyond to make an impression.”

Now one can admit, the name “Wong Gonzalez” itself does raise some eyebrows. The two stereotypical names for the respective cultures could cause at least some backlash, a testament Staples confirmed, but rebutted.

“We’re not blind to the idea that some people, it might be disagreeable with them,” he said. “You know there are a lot of Wong Chinese restaurants across the country and there are a lot of Gonzalez’, before Mexican restaurants across the country and I’m sure nobody has an issue with any of those.”

Staples stressed the name and concept is meant to be “playful and fun” and will be sure to pay respects to both cultures.

“It does not by any stretch of the imagination, make fun of, mock, or take advantage of any of these two cultures. It’s paying homage to them by still keeping the sanctity of each,” he said. “Our owner, (Tsui) is from Taiwan, our chef is from Singapore, and a chef is from Mexico, so we are a living embodiment of this concept.”

Once Wong Gonzalez gets off the ground, the partners plan to open another fusion restaurant in Short Pump, sometime in February of next year.

“It’s going to have some American steakhouse and sushi components all brought together,” Staples said.

Wong Gonzalez will fit roughly 80 people and, according to Staples, will be open at 412 E. Grace St. next door to Pasture with a targeted opening date of June 9th. Keep up to date with their progress and their photos of their delicious dishes on their Facebook page here.

Amy David

Amy David

Amy David was the Web Editor for from May 2015 until September 2018. She covered craft beer, food, music, art and more. She's been a journalist since 2010 and attended Radford University. She enjoys dogs, beer, tacos, and Bob's Burgers references.

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