This article appeared on the front page of the "Valley Voice Weekly", Volume XXIX No. 35, July 2, 2009.
Famed Imperial DynastyCould Be Reopening
By Miles Shuper
Hanford - The Imperial Dynasty, one of California's few five-star restaurants whose chef prepared escargot for world leaders and offered some of the best wines from a 70,000-bottle wine cellar, could be reopened in the next few months.
The Dynasty's escargot was known worldwide, attracting gourmets from not only the East Coast but other countries. The Hanford restaurant closed in 2006.
Although chef Richard Wing is retired, family members reportedly are working to put the Hanford restaurant back in business. Aerianna Wing has applied for a liquor license with the California Alcoholic Beverage Control Board. She was unavailable for comment. Her mother, Richard Wing's sister-in-law, would only say any discussion of the reopening would be premature.
Hanford building officials said there have been no fillings for building permits. The landmark restaurant, established more than 125 years ago in Hanford's historically rich Chinatown, has been a Mecca for gourmets from all over as well as one of the Valley's most noted dining establishments with a world class wine cellar.
The Dynasty has been a family operation. It was founded in 1883 when Richard Wing's grandfather opened up a noodle house in the city's Chinatown. Richard began working in the kitchen at age six, peeling vegetables and shelling shrimp. He joined the Army during World War II and in 1945, caught the attention of Gen. George C. Marshall who took him to China as his personal chef.
The assignment included being a food tester for Marshall who was allergic to shellfish and strawberries. Wing tasted foods in kitchens in Asia and Europe, learning from top chefs in those areas. During his time with Marshall, Wing also cooked for Presidents Roosevelt, Truman and Eisenhower.
Wing returned to Hanford in 1958, transforming his grandfather's one-time noodle house into a five-star restaurant.
He described his menu as more French cooking than Chinese, with a bit of German, Russian, Italian and Swiss flavors tossed in.
The fame spread and gourmets and others often made reservations weeks ahead. Walt Disney often flew into the Valley and it was reported that a group of wealthy New York businessmen came to Hanford once a month just for the famed escargot.President Ronald Reagan had the Wing family escargot served at his inauguration.
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