At Saturday’s grand re-opening of Lemongrass restaurant, owner Shang Wang showcased his recently expanded and renovated facility – large enough to seat three Chinese Lions – to hundreds of invited well wishers.
A native of Fujian province in China, the Cranston resident moved his business to Warwick in 2003 after suffering a basement fire in his former Johnston location. Since opening on Post Road, Wang has continuously improved and grown his business. When the adjacent furniture store recently closed, Wang saw an opportunity to expand, adding a complete banquet facility capable of holding 100 people.
“We’re hopeful people will book their wedding receptions, birthday and anniversary parties, or Christmas and New Year’s celebrations here,” said Wang.
He believes his commitment to cleanliness, quality and service will translate well for these larger functions, which he’s already started to book after completing eight months of renovations.
Lemongrass specializes in Chinese, Vietnamese and Thai dishes, striving to make each dish low in oil and sodium, without any MSG. These foods are now complimented by the additional renovations, including a complete upgrade of the restaurant’s interior, seating and motif changes, a new and larger kitchen, expanded Sushi bar, and the addition of a side bar for the banquet room.
“I want to invest back into my restaurant and community. We love it here,” said Wang, who added that he’s increased staff by one-third to accommodate the restaurant’s growth.
Councilwoman Camille Vella-Wilkinson and Councilman Joseph Gallucci were pleased with the restaurant’s reinvestment.
“I think it’s wonderful that we now have such a large multicultural venue here in Warwick. It’s important that we have successful businesses, like Lemongrass, continue to grow in our city,” said Vella-Wilkinson.
“I’ve always been a proponent of small business in Warwick, and anytime a business like this expands, it helps the entire community. From taxpayers to employees to patrons, everyone wins,” added Gallucci.
The day’s celebration included a full buffet with a sampling of more than 20 menu selections. The students of the Rhode Island Kung Fu Club, led by Director Luyi Shao, also performed a traditional Chinese Lion dance meant to ward off negative energy and bring about good luck. Three Lions danced about the restaurant, operated by some of the club’s 14 youth members.
“We’re invited to perform where people want to spread positive energy. We bring this not only to the business owner, but to everyone who sees the performance,” said Shao.
Elaine and Vinny Piccirilli, who recently celebrated a surprise 30th anniversary party at Lemongrass, have followed the restaurant since its days in Johnston.
“Mr. Wang has won us over with his huge food portions, price and service. He and his restaurant have persevered through thick and thin, it’s really an inspiration.”
Lemongrass, located at 1138 Post Road, is open seven days a week with varying hours. For more information, visit their website at www.lemongrass-ri.com or call 941-1388.