The Dayton area is losing one of its oldest continuously operating family-owned Asian restaurants later this month — although there’s a strong chance it will resurface in 2018 in a new location.
The Flying Tiger Chinese Restaurant at 60 S. Broad St. in Fairborn is preparing to shut down on July 23, Richard and Jennifer Liu, the son and daughter of the restaurant’s founders, told this news outlet in separate interviews this morning. Both siblings said there is a strong possibility they will look to open a new Flying Tiger restaurant after taking a break of at least six months.
The restaurant opened in the late 1980s.
A firm representing a franchisee for Burger King has submitted plans to open a new Burger King restaurant on the Broad Street property. Plans that include a drive-through were approved unanimously last night, July 11, by the Fairborn planning board, according to Michael Gebhart, Fairborn’s assistant city manager. The proposed plans are on Fairborn City Council’s agenda next week, Gebhart said.
A rumor has circulated in Fairborn and on social media that the city had played a part in forcing Flying Tiger out. Both Richard and Jennifer Liu said that is simply not true.
“This was a mutual agreement between us and Burger King, which was interested in our lot,” Jennifer Liu said this morning in a phone interview. “Our family wanted to scale down — this is a huge, 5,000-square-foot restaurant. My mom is in her late 70s and needs to retire.”
Gebhart also said the city played no role in the purchase of the restaurant, and noted that Jennifer Liu spoke publicly in favor of the Burger King application. Fairborn City Manager Rob Anderson spoke in a Facebook Live from the restaurant earlier this week describing the family’s desire to scale back.
The family will take a break and explore Asian cuisines here and elsewhere in anticipation of re-inventing and updating a new Flying Tiger sometime next year, Jennifer Liu said. Her brother Richard said he is looking forward to spending time with his family, including his 9-year-old son, before turning his attention to the possibility of launching a new Flying Tiger.
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The family will look first for locations in Fairborn, Richard and Jennifer Liu said, because of the loyal customer base the restaurant has developed.