Congratulations to the Wong family on the Rainbow Chinese Restaurant’s 25th anniversary, and for everything else they have accomplished in the past three decades. Three generations of Wongs celebrated the event on Monday with a big party at their Eat Street restaurant, joined by a big crowd of friends, customers and past and present employees.
Among the guests was Joe Selvaggio, former executive director of Project for Pride in Living, and founder and co-chair of MicroGrants. Selvaggio remembered renting the Wongs their first home in Minnesota, a PPL house at 1925 3rd Ave. S. where the two parents and nine children shared three bedrooms and a bathroom, as they got their start in their new homeland.
A generation later, the Wong children have gone on to successful careers: daughter Daisy and her husband’s family operate the Shuang Hur Asian supermarkets in Minneapolis and St. Paul; Tammy has the Rainbow, Nina and husband Thomas Gnanapragasam own the ChinDian Cafe, Fong has a bed and breakfast in Wooster, Ohio; Alex and his wife operate a used bike shop in St. Paul, and Tracy, who just moved back to Minnesota from California with husband Kevin, have opened the newest family business – the Eat Street Eatery.
The Eat Street Eatery occupies the tiny storefront at 2718 Nicollet that previously housed Lu’s Sandwiches, which has moved up the street to larger quarters in the former Hien Deli at 2624 Nicollet. The menu is very limited – five or six different kinds of banh mi sandwiches, plus bubble tea and crepes made to order. The meatball banh mi sandwich was one of tastiest examples of global fusion cuisine you’ll find anywhere for $3.50 – Italian meatballs and Vietnamese marinated vegetables and seasonings stuffed into a French roll.
I also thoroughly enjoyed the crepe ($4.95), stuffed with bananas and strawberries and slathered with whipped cream. It’s not a typical Vietnamese sandwich shop item, but Tracy has developed her crepe making expertise working at the Wongs’ Renaissance Festival stand for the past couple of years.