Corrections or additions?
These articles by Barbara Fox were prepared for the October 18,
2000 edition of U.S. 1 Newspaper. All rights reserved.
Ray and Elsie Pang are opening two new restaurants
in their new building at 235 Nassau Street in the spaces formerly
occupied by Zanzibar and Fork by the Side of the Road. Meanwhile,
the liquor license that Steve Willis had used for Zanzibar is being
sold to the owners of Les Copains of 18 Witherspoon Street for a
In the big Zanzibar space the Pangs will have an eatery called Alma
Mater, decorated with plenty of orange and black and with the
of a less-than-usually-boisterous sports bar — though the place
is replete with television sets tuned to sports venues and business
news, it has no liquor license. The Pangs hope this will be a BYOB
establishment for both families and the college crowd.
The Pangs have enlarged the kitchen for the Alma Mater space (which
was first occupied by the Emerald Coffee House) and will have seating
for 72, with outdoor tables available on the balcony in good weather.
The menu will be Continental, with dinner entrees from $8 to $13.
In the smallest space at 235 Nassau, what was formerly just a takeout
spot, the Pangs will have a 10-seat eatery called Waikiki, focusing
on fish dishes. The Pangs also own and run the Thai Village restaurant
at 235 Nassau plus the Orchid Pavilion across the street.
Zanzibar was upscale, expensive, struggling, and lasted less than
two years. At the opening, Zanzibar’s chef had warned that investing
in a restaurant is "the perfect way to turn four million dollars
into one," but owner Steve Willis had been ultra optimistic about
his potential for success (U.S. 1, October 21, 1998). Willis
the perception that restaurants are risky to the fact that "the
people who ran them didn’t have a financial background, but had a
food background." Both Zanzibar’s and Willis’ other restaurant,
Harriet’s, closed earlier this year. Harriet’s is now called Les
and one of its owners, Michael Lauren, is the authorized agent on
the transfer application for the liquor license.
The grand opening of both Waikiki and Alma Mater will be Friday,
Also see these stories
Terra, a Latin-tinged Mediterranean restaurant at 78 Albany Street in
New Brunswick on Saturday, October 21. By tethering good business
judgment to their love of good food the brothers now command 16 eating
places (732-296-1600). www.princetoninfo.com/200010/01018p01.html
business at the Sarnoff Corporation — will expand the successful
restaurant that he owns with his 22-year-old brother Tino. La Borgata
(www.laborgatas.com/page1.htm) opened at a strip mall in Kingston and
acquired the liquor license and the property of Studio 27
Whitehouse, says he was "never looking to open a stand-alone
restaurant outside of New York City. It makes no sense; it is failure
by design." But he stationed himself at the epicenter of three
industries — financial services, telecommunications, and
pharmaceuticals — and he is succeeding.
Corrections or additions?
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