Great Wall Restaurant

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Employees ensure stability at established eatery

If consistency is key, then Great Wall Restaurant owner Hai Lim has found a winning formula for success after more than five years of business in Leander.

A restaurant owner since 1984, Lim instead touts the longevity and culinary experience of his employees behind the restaurant’s concentrated yet popular menu.

“It’s not a very big menu, but we sell a lot—only what people like,” Lim said, explaining how his menu reduces hundreds of traditional options down to approximately 30. “A lot of people when they first come in are afraid to try something new, but once they do, they always come back.”

Lim employs 30 full- and part-time employees among three Williamson County locations, including 10 workers based solely in Leander, he said. More than half of those workers have some culinary education or decades of experience, he said, and many of his younger employees have been with Great Wall at least four years, he said, working during much of their high school and college years.

“They like the place—they like the food,” Lim said. “I try to treat the kids like they’re family.”

Lim, who alongside his three sons and wife operates the restaurant chain, rotates locations he works among Leander, Pflugerville and Round Rock.

“I love what I’m doing,” Lim said. “That’s why I have the energy to keep going around to all the restaurants.”

Lim’s son Thomas and future daughter-in-law Melissa Sonnier operate the Leander restaurant on a day-to-day basis. Thomas Lim, a 2005 Le Cordon Blue Culinary Arts graduate, said he grew up in the back of a kitchen, helping him to not only learn to cook but also gain experience managing a restaurant.

By taking over management duties in Leander, he has helped take more off his father’s plate when running the family business.

“It’s definitely hard working with your family, especially with a dad who knows everything about it,” Thomas Lim said. “We do balance it pretty well, though.”

The family emphasizes the restaurant’s ingredients, including its jumbo shrimp, premium cuts of beef and all white-meat chicken, as well as Great Wall’s $5.95 lunch and $7.25 dinner specials. There are also several chef’s specialty dishes and appetizers that are often customer favorites, Lim said.

But what most separates the restaurant, Lim said, is its convenience to home for many Leander residents. Great Wall is accessible to many Crystal Falls residents on their commute home from work, he said, and Great Wall delivers within a 5-mile radius for $3 extra.

“People are tired and don’t want to spend all their time at a restaurant,” Lim said. “We want them to be able to go home to their families.”

Appetizers

  • Egg roll ($3.25/order)
  • Crab rangoon ($2.75/order)
  • Fried wontons ($2.95/order)
  • Shrimp toast ($3.95/order)
  • Fried chicken wings ($2.75/order)
  • Shrimp puffs ($3.95/order)
  • Fried/steamed dumplings ($4.95/order)
  • Chicken nuggets ($4.75/order)
  • Pupu platter ($8.95)

Soups

  • Wonton soup ($1 cup; $3.25 bowl)
  • Egg drop soup ($1; $3.25)
  • Hot and sour soup ($1.25; $3.50)
  • Wakame soup ($1.25; $3.50)

Chef specialties

All orders are $8.95 and include white rice, brown rice or fried rice

  • Chinese
  • Great Wall Delight
  • Jumbo rainbow shrimp
  • Assorted pan-fried noodles
  • Spicy assorted kung pao
  • Japanese
  • Teriyaki chicken or beef
  • Hibachi chicken or beef
  • Vietnamese
  • Vermicelli noodles with chicken, beef or shrimp
  • Thai
  • Spicy Thai curry chicken or beef

1906 S. Bagdad Road, Ste. A, Leander, 512-528-8892, www.greatwallexpress.biz

  • Mon.–Thu. 11 a.m.–2:30 p.m., 4:30–9 p.m.
  • Fri.–Sat. 11 a.m.–2:30 p.m., 4:30–10 p.m.
  • Sunday noon–8 p.m.

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Joe Lanane
Joe Lanane’s career is rooted in community journalism, having worked for a variety of Midwest-area publications before landing south of the Mason-Dixon line in 2011 as the Stillwater News-Press news editor. He arrived at Community Impact Newspaper in 2012, gaining experience as editor of the company’s second-oldest publication in Leander/Cedar Park. He eventually became Central Austin editor, covering City Hall and the urban core of the city. Lanane leveraged that experience to become Austin managing editor in 2016. He managed eight Central Texas editions from Georgetown to San Marcos. Working from company headquarters, Lanane also became heavily involved in enacting corporate-wide editorial improvements. In 2017, Lanane was promoted to executive editor, overseeing editorial operations throughout the company. The Illinois native received his bachelor’s degree from Western Illinois University and his journalism master’s degree from Ball State University.
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