After more than 20 years in business, Annie Chiu has decided that the time has come to hand over the reins of her beloved Cleveland Heights eatery, Sun Luck Garden (1901 S. Taylor Rd., 216-397-7676). Born in Hong Kong, Chiu relocated to the States, where she worked in fine restaurants like Giovanni’s and Café Sausalito and alongside great chefs like Parker Bosley before opening a restaurant of her own.
Chiu’s creativity in the kitchen turned out both traditional and contemporary Chinese fare, with her signature mussels in spicy garlic broth drawing crowds of its own.
In a letter to her loyal customers, Chiu writes, “I will miss this place, it's where my son and nephews have grown up, where my grandson started running and never stops, where so many of the neighborhood youth have grown up, and where I have met so many interesting and really amazing people (that's you). Thank you so much.”
New owners Lai Kuan Lee and her husband Tiande Ling each bring with them years of experience working in Asian restaurants. For 10 years, Lee has worked at nearby Pacific East, while Ling has been cooking over at Li Wah in Asiatown. The couple was on the hunt for a place of their own when Chiu mentioned that she was looking to make a move, says Lee.
“We were looking for a restaurant and Annie said she wanted to retire and she would pass it to me, but I hope you take care of customers like me. I try my best, I said.”
The transfer already has taken place, and with it comes an entirely new menu built largely around classic Cantonese and Szechuan dishes. Diners can expect items like salt and pepper shrimp, shrimp and walnuts, ma po tofu, Mongolian beef, Hunan beef and chop suey.
For the first time in years, Sun Luck Garden is open for lunch on weekdays. Chiu stopped doing lunch service about six years ago.