Chef Guy Wong has not gone the route that his parents took in operating a traditional ethnic eatery. (Beckysteinphotography.com)
Photo: Becky Stein
Photo: Becky Stein

Guy Wong: Defining next-generation Asian restaurants in Atlanta

You might have guessed that Guy Wong would make a career in the restaurant industry, considering that he grew up in it. His Chinese father and Vietnamese mother owned Sam’s Gourmet, one Atlanta’s first Cantonese restaurants.

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But Wong, whose cultural influences also include a period of study in Japan, has not gone the route that his parents took in operating a traditional ethnic eatery. Wong is comfortable not just with a broad spectrum of Asian cuisines, but also with modernizing ethnic dining.

In 2009, Wong opened Miso Izakaya, serving Japanese-style tapas and sushi. Then came short-lived steamed bun spot Yum Bunz, which he reconceptualized last year as upscale Vietnamese spot Le Fat. This summer saw the debut of ramen bar Ton Ton.

Ask Wong to describe each of those restaurants, and cuisine isn’t how he distinguishes among them. “Miso is more of a creative side. Le Fat is more classic. Ton Ton would be comfort,” Wong said.

The feel of his restaurants is as important to him as the cuisine offered there, which is markedly different from the restaurant his immigrant parents operated for decades, where the focus was primarily on cooking authentic food.

Wong’s next restaurant, Big Boss Chinese, slated to open in the fall of 2017, will offer Hong Kong-style Cantonese cuisine — but following the same approach he has taken with his other places.

“I’m going back to doing Chinese food — but second-generation Chinese food, not what my mother and father did,” he said.

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Le Fat, 935 Marietta St., Atlanta. 404-439-9850, lefatatl.com.Miso Izakaya, 619 Edgewood Ave. S.E., Atlanta. 470-225-6252, facebook.com/misoizakaya.Ton Ton, 675 Ponce de Leon Ave. N.E., Atlanta. 404-883-3507, tontonramen.com.

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