Family fare; Brothers carry on traditions at Naperville restaurant
The Sun – Naperville (IL) June 2, 2005 | Michael Kapellas The Hunan beef at House of Emperor in Naperville is stir-fried with green peppers and baby corn. Lunch and dinner menus are available for dine-in, carryout and delivery.
For many people, having dinner with the in-laws during the holiday season is more than often enough. The Lau family from Naperville does dinner together daily, and lunch pretty often, as well. go to website chinese food menu
Chris and Raymond Lau, the brother tandem who own the House of Emperor Chinese restaurant, also employ their wives at the restaurant. Nancy is married to Chris, and Linda is Raymond’s wife. And for most of the 15 years the restaurant has been open, they all see each other every day. There is little they don’t do together, including pregnancy. Their 6-year-old children were born a week apart.
So while plenty House of Emperor customers marvel at the fact that the families and the restaurant have managed to remain intact after all these years, it doesn’t surprise Nancy.
“To me the reason (for our success) is teamwork,” she said. “The brothers get along very well. They keep an eye on all of the products coming out of the kitchen and we really care about our customers.” At House of Emperor, they make a mean plate of Chinese food, and they also turn traditional American gender roles on their head. The wives spend most of their time in the front of the house while the brothers spend the majority of their time in the kitchen. It’s been a successful formula for the restaurant, which opened in February 1990.
The brothers Lau are originally from Hong Kong, having immigrated to Chicago in the 1970s with their family. The original menu at House of Emperor reflected those roots, as it was heavy on Cantonese items, which are typically some of the least spicy of the Chinese food dishes. Those Cantonese classics are still offered, but over the years the menu has grown to include dishes from a variety of regions and degrees of spiciness. If you’ve seen a dish on a Chinese food menu somewhere, odds are you’ll also find it on House of Emperor’s, which is almost as long as the Great Wall of China.
Appetizers range from fried wonton to chicken lettuce wraps. The entrees include beef, poultry, pork and vegetable dishes and a variety of seafood selections that you won’t often find at Chinese food restaurants. For instance, there’s the filet of sole, which is served in your choice of several sauces, including black pepper, ginger and onion, teriyaki and lobster. They also serve lobster, crab and pike dishes.
There are, of course, the staples of any Chinese food menu, like General Tso’s Chicken, the lightly battered and stir-fried selection with just a bit of spiciness. You can also get sweet and sour chicken, Mongolian beef and Kung Pao and Szechwan everything. House of Emperor also serves whole Peking duck for $27.95 or a smaller portion as an appetizer. go to web site chinese food menu
The list of desserts at the restaurant begins and ends with fortune cookies, although they do serve complimentary cake to people celebrating birthdays.
House of Emperor has a full bar. They deliver lunch and dinner to most of Naperville. A delivery fee of $3 to $5 applies. All of the items on the menu are also available for takeout.
HOUSE OF EMPEROR 1212 S. Naper Blvd., Naperville (630) 983-8284 Entree range: $6.55 to $27.95 Noise level: Conversation friendly Restaurant hours: 11:30 a.m. to 9:30 p.m. Monday through Thursday; 11:30 a.m. to 10:30 p.m. Friday; noon to 10:30 Saturday; noon to 9:30 Sunday.
ON THE MENU A sampling of items available at House of Emperor:
Appetizer Crab rangoon: a full order of eight, $6.25 Entree Rice vermicelli Singapore style: a blend of baby shrimp and barbecue pork stir-fried with vermicelli noodles and flavored with curry, $9.25 Michael Kapellas