High Street gains another Asian eatery in former Quiznos
By Katie Alcox, For The Miami Student
With no sign indicating its name and few distinguishing features, many Miami students and Oxford residents are unaware that Tang Dynasty, a new Asian restaurant focusing on authentic Chinese cuisine, has opened Uptown.
Tang Dynasty moved into what was previously Quiznos on west High Street two weeks ago. It has yet to change the storefront, but it has already garnered attention from the international student population.
Sophomore Mario Formica thought the restaurant might be temporary.
"What I heard through the grapevine was that this pop up restaurant was going to be in town for a few weeks," Formica said. "I know it's Chinese food and the menus are all in Chinese, but that makes a lot of non-Chinese students intimidated to try it."
Johnny Liu, one of Tang Dynasty's co-owners, said he is trying to market to Miami's population of Chinese international students. The bulk of the restaurant's menu is centered on food from Liu's home city, Beijing - comfort dishes built for the cold weather in China's northern provinces.
"We are doing a different thing. Phan Shin is doing more of American style. There will be competition between the restaurants, but I think we are good."
Liu said they don't specialize in familiar, Americanized Chinese dishes such as General Tso. One of Tang's top dishes is the Lamb Backbone Hotpot, but diners can find a plethora of traditional Chinese dishes, like Ma Po Tofu.
Oxford's Uptown area is home to seven different Asian restaurants. Some, like Yum Yum and No. 5, which replaced Fuji Express this summer, have menus geared toward Miami's international student population. Others, like Phan Shin and Wild Bistro, tend to serve more Americanized Asian food.
Yvonne Lin, co-owner of Phan Shin, said the influx of Asian restaurants is creating some tough competition and she is worried that the supply may be surpassing the demand.
"They might have something really good and there may be a market for it, but seven is over the borderline," she said. "To be honest, if I said I am not worried, I would be lying."
Oxford's Economic Development Director Alan Kyger said history shows competition will eventually eliminate competitors.
"Over the years, we've had a lot of pizza stores, another time there were a few more Indian restaurants. So there's an ebb and flow," he said.
Liu, however, said that Tang Dynasty is here to stay.
"There is only really one good Chinese restaurant in Oxford, so we wanted to start another one," Liu said. "We wanted to bring back the feeling of home."
Additional reporting by James Steinbauer