Update: All systems are go for Sesame and Soy, a new Asian take-out and delivery concept in Tremont.
*** (Original story 08/14/18):
As bored pre-med students at Case, Paul Yu and John Tran opened Turbo Four Café, which was likely Cleveland’s first source for Taiwanese bubble tea when it opened in 2000. Since then, the friends have been partners in a number of business ventures, including the popular Tremont salon Beauty Room on Starkweather.
Next up for the serial entrepreneurs is Sesame and Soy
(2173 Professor Ave.), an Asian take-out and delivery concept. The restaurant is currently taking shape within the walls of the original Cookie and a Cupcake space in Tremont. If all goes as hoped, the business could be up and running by early September.
As Tremont residents, both Yu and Tran believe there is a need for affordable, high-quality Chinese food in the neighborhood.
“If I want really good beef and broccoli with fried rice and an egg roll, where am I going to go,” Yu asks rhetorically. “And why is it $30 every time I want to go out to eat with my wife in my own neighborhood?”
Yu says that he “loves simple concepts,” and that’s his and his partner’s plan for Sesame and Soy. The roster of familiar Chinese foods will likely land in the 10 to 12 item range, with a few appetizers like egg rolls, crab Rangoon and dumplings. Taiwanese specials like beef noodle soup, popcorn chicken and fried pork chops might make appearances. The goal is to offer a meal of two entrees and an appetizer for around $25.
“Simple ingredients, simple menu, but great food,” promises Yu.
Given that the space is just 450 square feet, the plan is to offer only carry-out and delivery service. Orders can be placed through the website or third-party platforms like Facebook and Yelp. Customers will receive a text stating the pickup or delivery time. The delivery zone will be limited to Tremont and perhaps Duck Island. In place of plastic, foods will be packaged in the traditional origami-style Chinese-takeout containers and sealed with a fun branded sticker.
To start, Sesame and Soy will be dinner-only, says Yu.
“I want to open with limited hours because the most important thing to me is the quality of the food,” he explains. “I want everything to be perfect before I expand to lunch or anything else.”
Right now, the chef is in Las Vegas training at Yu’s mother’s popular Taiwanese restaurant in that city’s Chinatown neighborhood. Both Yu and Tran grew up with family-run Asian restaurants as part of their childhoods.
“Being restaurant kids growing up in restaurants, the last thing on our minds was to ever open a restaurant, and here we are about to open one,” says Yu. “We want to make both our parents proud.”