Michael Zhang set to open fourth eatery, Ming’s Cafe Glenwood, in former Grand Avenue Sweets location
From sweet to Southeast Asian, Ming’s Café Glenwood is gearing up to open its doors this winter in the former home of Grand Avenue Sweets at 721 Grand Ave.
Located in the heart of downtown, Roaring Fork Valley restaurateur Michael Zhang, who already owns Taipei Tokyo and Kanpai Sushi in Glenwood Springs, as well as Ming’s Café in Carbondale, emphasizes the Southeast Asian style of cuisine he cannot wait to serve at the confluence of the Roaring Fork and Colorado rivers.
“I am very excited,” Zhang said. “I think the people in Glenwood will be very excited to have this restaurant, too.”
Following the 2008 financial crisis, Zhang ditched his suit-and-tie job in China and rolled up his sleeves to learn about the restaurant business firsthand from his mother who, at the time, worked at an eatery in Aspen.
“I went to CU Denver for economics and finance, and I am definitely not in there anymore,” Zhang said with a laugh. “Whenever anything happens, people still have to eat and that is when I began to learn how to serve and cook in Aspen.”
Evidently, Zhang’s mother trained her son well, as Ming’s Cafe Glenwood is his fourth in a string of area eateries.
“From the kitchen side, [Ming’s Café Glenwood] will be very similar to that of Ming’s Café in Carbondale,” Zhang said. “The foundation is Chinese food but also mixed with a lot of Indian and Malaysian elements, and this is what makes our food very unique and special.”
“My head chef is Chinese, but he was born and raised in Malaysia,” Zhang added.
Zhang described how many of the anticipated menu items will pay homage to the Chinese immigrants who resettled in Malaysia and the Singapore region some 200 to 300 years ago.
One dish, which embodies many of those characteristics, includes that of the Singapore Laksa.
“It is a coconut, curry soup with rice noodles and we make our curry in-house from scratch,” Zhang described of the dish.
However, not wanting to simply re-create Ming’s Café in Carbondale, Zhang hinted that, in addition to a highlighted focus on Southeast Asian cooking techniques, Ming’s Café in Glenwood will also showcase more sushi.
“I hired a very, very experienced sushi chef from Los Angeles and he has been working in Japanese restaurants for over 30 years,” Zhang disclosed.
However, while Zhang was not ready to reveal the sushi chef’s name yet, he did say Glenwood would get its own sushi roll.
It seemed only fair, Zhang said with a smile, as the other Ming’s location, just up valley, rolls together shrimp tempura, mango, kani and avocado in its Carbondale Roll.
Zhang described how Ming’s Café Glenwood aims to please a variety of palates, as the menu will include Chinese cuisine with Indian and Malaysian elements, as well as a diverse sushi roll selection. Much of the menu will also feature gluten-free options.
According to Zhang, Ming’s Café Glenwood will open in January or February 2019, and is scheduled to serve customers daily from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m.
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“We are not saying, ‘You speak Spanish here’s one brochure for you and you speak English here’s another.’ We are bringing it all together and uniting it.”