Photo by Brian Shlonsky
Photo by Brian Shlonsky
By Brian Shlonsky
If the words local, healthy, fast and affordable sound about as absent from typical shopping mall cuisine as men in the Victoria’s Secret store, it’s because they are. But Louisville’s own family run Yang Kee Noodle in Oxmoor Mall has changed the face of the mall dining experience.
With their slogan “ancient flavors, fresh ideas,” Yang Kee Noodle introduces a new concept and food to the ever-growing popularity of “fast casual” dining.
Widely recognized as the fastest growing segment of the restaurant business, fast casual restaurants offer higher food quality in a more desirable atmosphere than fast food restaurants, but at a lower cost than traditional full table service establishments. Welcome Five Guys, Panera Bread and Qdoba.
What Yang Kee Noodle has that the others don’t is a local and family feel to it, complimenting the Asian dishes made from scratch and recipes by Chef John Castro, Executive Chef of Winston's Restaurant, the flagship of Louisville's Sullivan University.
“People like that they can make their own stir-fry, they like that what we’re serving is made from scratch and healthier than other fast restaurants, they like the wood and the ambiance and open air; plus you can see the woks in the open kitchen,” said owner Dan Huckestein, who, with his father, started the restaurant seven years ago.
According to the Yang Kee Noodle website, the restaurant is inspired by noodle houses found throughout Asia, and displays a Pan-Asian menu that offers stir-fry dishes deriving from Thailand, Japan, Korea, Vietnam and China.
Huckestein said that the firecracker chicken is the restaurant’s most popular dish ($7.99), followed by classic pad Thai($7.79).
My recommendation however lies with the create your own stir-fry option. This selection involves choosing a meat, dish and the alternative of rice or lo mein. I personally could survive on lunches of Mongolian chicken with lo mein and served extra spicy for the rest of my life ($7.79).
Although Yang Kee Noodle currently has the one location in Oxmoor Mall, Huckstein said they do have plans of opening a second store somewhere in Louisville.
“Oxmoor gave us a chance to introduce a new concept and food to the market, and the mall traffic gives us exposure,” Huckestein said. “Ideally we’d open a few more stores in Louisville- the Highlands is a prime location, but a lot of customers would also like to see us out in the Summit or Brownsboro Rd area, and we even have people who come eat from Southern Indiana.”
Despite the father-son team that developed the restaurant, Huckestein said that many people assume Yang Kee Noodle must be a chain since it is located in a shopping mall.
“I love this about Louisville,” Huckestein said. “No other city you can go to has a local restaurant in the mall. Most of our customers know my dad or myself, and my mother even made the flags that mark the tables where employees bring the food.”A look at the menu and other background information can be found at www.yangkeenoodle.com .