Customers return to renovated restaurant
April 04, 2019
A downtown restaurant has been attracting crowds of diners after it reopened following a major renovation.
The Qiao Restaurant, or Qiaojiashan, is known for local specialty liang mian huang (both sides yellow) fried noodles.
The traditional eatery on Xiangyang Road S., within the Hengfu (Hengshan-Fuxing Road) Historical Conservation Zone, closed for renovation last year.
Since its reopening on Sunday, long lines of customers have been seen outside the eatery every day, especially during lunch and dinner time, a staff member said.
Many of the elderly residents living nearby have been eating at the restaurant since they were young.
"We've been meeting regularly in the same compartment of the restaurant since we graduated from the Shanghai Medical College in 1956," said Shen Yucheng, 88, a former Xinhua Hospital neurologist, of former colleagues and friends.
"There used to be two tables of old friends, but now many of them have passed away," Shen added.
"We heard about the reopening and organized a gathering immediately," said Shen's classmate Ouyang Peiying, a noted epidemiologist. "The environment has been well restored to its original style."
At another table, a 70-year-old couple said they had lined up at the restaurant at 9am.
"I began dining at the restaurant when I was 10 years old. I dated my husband here and took our son here as well," said Sheng Mangwei who lives nearby. "Now, we often take our grandchildren here."
Quick-fried eel, braised river eel, eight delicacies in spicy sauce, steamed pork with rice and eight delicacies in duck are among the most popular dishes after the reopening, said head chef Liu Xiaoping. All are typical Shanghai dishes.
The 50-year-old learned to cook Shanghai cuisine at the local Jinshan Hotel when he was 18 years old.
"We retained the typical Shanghai flavor such as red sauce and sweet taste, but reduce the oil and sugar to cater for the senior diners," Liu said.
Most senior customers come around noon, while office workers and younger diners come for dinner, said a deputy manager.
The restaurant originally operated in the city’s Old Town area from 1909 and moved to its current site in Xuhui District in 1939.
Madam Soong Ching Ling (1893-1981), Peking Opera master Mei Lanfang (1894-1961), legendary poet Xu Zhimo (1897-1931) and Kunqu Opera artist Yu Zhenfei (1902-1993) were frequent customers. Peking Opera master Zhou Xinfang (1895-1975) once wrote an inscription after trying the restaurant's Shanghai cuisine.
However, business slowed down in recent years as a result of competition from many new stylish restaurants and the Qiaojiashan management decided on the renovation last year when it could only make ends meet.
The restaurant's interior has been restored to the style of the 1930s, along with its signage. The iron windows, vintage lamps and furniture, wooden floors and stairs have been restored in the two-story premises.
The eatery is among a batch of local time-honored brands which are undergoing revamps and renovations to restore their former popularity.
Lu Bo Lang Restaurant, one of the city's most highly regarded eateries, has closed temporarily for a major renovation. The traditional eatery next to the iconic Zigzag Bridge in the Yuyuan Garden Mall, has long been famous for serving its delicate dim sum to foreign dignitaries.
Another popular eatery, the century-old Nanxiang Steamed Bun Restaurant, reopened in October last year after its layout was rearranged and the three floors redesigned.