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Fortune Garden Re-opens 13 Months after Devastating Fire | Business

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Fortune Garden Re-opens 13 Months after Devastating Fire
Fortune Garden Re-opens 13 Months after Devastating Fire

Over a year after a fire destroyed one of El Dorado Hills' most popular eateries, owners and staff of the Fortune Garden restaurant are cheerfully preparing for their grand re-opening on April 6.

The family behind the Fortune Garden restaurant has established roots in El Dorado Hills and neighboring communities.  Most regulars are familiar with the smiling faces of owner Wei Xiao Chen, who immigrated to Sacramento with his family from China in search of the American dream, and Mr. Chen's daughter, Landy Chen-Wu, and her husband, Sam Wu, managers of the restaurant. Over time, Landy and Sam have built long-lasting relationships with their guests, making Fortune Garden a warm, friendly, and familiar place that locals could rely on for great service and food.

"When I first started working at the restaurant, I tried very hard to make sure I pronounced words correctly and always did everything perfectly the same way. However, over time I realized that by insisting to be robotic and perfect, I didn't love what I was doing and I feel like people can tell," Landy recalled, "But now, I learned that if you open your heart and be genuine with people, they will keep coming back. I love our guests. They don't care if I speak broken English. All they really want is to be able to come in, be greeted with a smile and enjoy a delicious meal."

On February 13, 2012, the family's dreams were shattered as a fire destroyed the entire kitchen and more than half of the dining room. It appears the fire may have been started by an electrical problem. When the family saw the damage, they were devastated. "I could not believe it!" said Mr. Chen. "I was thinking, 'Why me? '" Mr. Chen shared that he was even more concerned about his daughter and son-in-law. "My daughter has invested a lot of time and money in it," he spoke through tears as he recalled the event.

It was a 13-month struggle to rebuild the restaurant. From working with the insurance company to complying with modern ADA and other building codes, the family faced many challenges. "Fortunately, we had a good general contractor that really went out of their way to help us," Landy explained. El Dorado Restoration served as the general contractor for the Fortune Garden project, and, according to the family, went above and beyond to assist the Chens. "It wasn't easy, but there are good people out there that really do want to help", said Landy. "I wouldn't have been able to cope with all of the issues if it wasn't for the good people at El Dorado Restoration." 

Throughout the reconstruction process, regulars have shown up and left notes on the doors offering words of encouragement and praise, such as, "We miss you!", "Can't wait until you're open!" and, "You and your family are in our prayers. Hang in there!" 

But the long struggle is finally over, and the restaurant is preparing its grand re-opening. Guests can look forward to an updated dining setting, including a new, high-efficiency air conditioning system, updated plumbing and ventilation, new carpet, tile, and paint, and updated bathrooms. Sam Wu is excited about sharing new recipes with his guests. "One of the good things about having so much time off is I got to experiment with new dishes and ingredients", said Sam.  "We will have a lot of new things in the restaurant", says Landy, "but our guest can look forward to the same great service and food made with love".

Fortune Garden will re-open on Saturday, April 6. The family is looks forward to seeing familiar faces and welcoming new guests. They invite the community to come help them celebrate. They will mark the occasion with special promotions and prizes throughout the month of April.

Fortune Garden Chinese Restaurant is located at 899 Embarcadero Drive, El Dorado Hills, across the street from the Safeway plaza on Green Valley Rd. The restaurant is open seven days a week for lunch and dinner.

Source: Brooke Sobol for Fortune Garden

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