NORTH ADAMS, Mass. — The new Meng's Pan-Asian Restaurant opened quietly on Tuesday after two months of renovations in the former China Buffet space.
Meng Wu Wang and Yaling "Joy" Wang were operating both the buffet and the adjacent Sushi House, but it was becoming too much work.
"It was too hard to run two restaurants," Joy Wang said. "We wanted to do something different."
The result is a bright, sleek and contemporary take in grays that echoes the style of the Sushi House. The buffet is gone, opening up the front space for more seating, and two new long bars — one for sushi — offer counter seating. A water wheel bubbles in the large bow window for ambiance and a new sign on the exterior of the plaza facing Main Street directs patrons to the entrance. The expansive menu offers Chinese, Thai, Korean foods; hibachi dishes; sushi; noodles, and bento boxes, along with a full bar.
The Wangs said they've been thinking about how to revamp the space for about three years. One consideration was making sure there was room for the weekly gathering of the local artist community, which some nights has numbered more than 30.
Meng Wu Wang said the restaurant can seat about 120.
"We did a lot of work ourselves but it was not easy," he said.
What he likes best about the new restaurant is how bright and spacious it is. "It was very dark before," he said.
The Wangs worked at other restaurants before opening the China Buffet about 15 years ago. A number of eateries have been located in that space, including the Tally-Ho many years ago and another previous Chinese restaurant. They opened the Sushi House on the Main Street side of the building in 2011.
The Sushi House is now closed and Joy Wang said they still have a few months on the lease, but they're not sure if they'll do anything in there in the meantime.
Right now they're focusing on getting staff used to the new layout and menus, and preparing for a grand opening beginning July 21, which will include half-price sushi between July 21 and 27.
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