In the heart of Los Angeles is a vibrant embodiment of the American dream—a dream realized through the culinary journey of a family-owned Chinese restaurant chain.
In the early 1960s, Kai Tai Chang and his wife, May, left Hong Kong for Los Angeles, seeking a better future. Kai Tai, driven by his unwavering work ethic, found opportunities in Chinatown’s food industry. He worked tirelessly, holding multiple jobs to support his family.
Kai Tai’s dedication led him to become a chef at the Phoenix Inn, a restaurant at Ord and New High streets. Over time, a strong friendship with the retiring owner paved the way for him to purchase the restaurant.
May Chang played a pivotal role as the welcoming face of the Phoenix Inn, forging personal connections with customers. For two decades, the Chang family thrived by prioritizing personalized service, valuing their staff, and offering delicious cuisine.
In 1997, the family expanded to Alhambra, introducing a unique addition to their menu—desserts, including classic Asian treats and fresh fruit options. Their commitment to culinary excellence, even sending Elaina to Le Cordon Bleu in Pasadena to hone her pastry skills, was rewarded with success.
Despite the challenges posed by the pandemic, Phoenix persevered with take-out and delivery services, expanding to its 13th location in San Diego in 2023. Nick Chang, the next generation, took the reins as president in 2021, committed to maintaining their high standards of quality and exceptional customer service as they continue to grow.
The Chang family takes pride in their legacy, built on a foundation of culinary excellence and heartfelt service, reflected in the glowing Phoenix signs that now shine beyond the Southland.
Featured Image Source: KTLA