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Springfield restaurant family opens Leong's Asian Diner

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After a two-month delay on the opening of Leong’s Asian Diner, the noted Leong family is back in business after a more than 10-year hiatus.

Leong’s Asian Diner opened at 11 a.m. today at 1540 W. Republic Road, partner Wing Leong said, and Springfield food connoisseurs have taken notice.

“We’ve even had people pounding on the drive-through window,” Leong said.

The Leong family hasn’t owned a restaurant in Springfield since 1997.

“We’re as ready as we’re going to be,” Leong said. “We’re very happy with the looks of the restaurant. We hit it out of the ballpark.”

The restaurant went through a successful four-day training session, feeding 300 people Dec. 2-5, he said.

Leong said the delay was due to additional construction to the building – restrooms, which originally weren’t included in the remodel, were renovated and all the necessary permits took longer to get than anticipated.

The menu includes the family’s Springfield cashew chicken, as well as other favorites from Leong’s Tea House, the family’s original restaurant, and American classics. Dishes returning from the original Leong’s Tea House menu include cashew chicken, Asian barbecue roast pork and roast duck.

David Leong, credited with creating Springfield-style cashew chicken, opened Leong’s Tea House in 1963 and will serve as a goodwill ambassador, said Ling Leong, who plans to keep his job as a Sysco Corp. food sales representative and help manage the restaurant’s financial and administrative work on evenings and weekends.

Wing Leong will take the lead in the kitchen and the restaurant’s day-to-day operations.

The Leongs are covering the estimated $300,000 startup costs with personal finances and a Bank of America loan. The family will pay $4,500 a month to rent the 3,700-square-foot building, which is owned by Muskogee, Okla.-based Pixie Inc., according to the Greene County Assessor’s office.
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