In a twist of fate, Tokyo Steak House owner Sherry Wang got into the restaurant business after she retired from a career in journalism.
Wang worked as the Austin bureau chief for World Journal, a Chinese daily paper and the largest Chinese-language newspaper in the United States. After she retired, Wang and her husband, Terry, moved from Austin across the country.
“Because all my kids grew up, we sold our big house here in the suburbs and moved to Seattle, by the beach,” she said.
Meanwhile, Wang’s brother worked in Round Rock at Tokyo Steak House, which first opened 14 years ago.
“We were concerned he would lose his job if the restaurant didn’t do well,” she said. “We told the owner we’d like to invest.”
Wang and her husband moved back to town and took over Tokyo Steak House in early March, she said.
They hit the ground running and learned about the restaurant business from co-workers, vendors and customers. She and her husband had no experience with the food business, but Wang said the lack of experience gives her a unique insight into running a restaurant.
“I was a customer. I went to restaurants all the time, so I see the restaurant from a customer viewpoint,” she said. “We have a very high standard for customer satisfaction.”
Wang said she and her husband are both well-traveled and have been to restaurants all over the world. That experience has allowed them to be open-minded now that they operate their own restaurant, she said.
She describes Tokyo Steak House as “Asian-fusion,” and the most-ordered item is fried rice, Wang said. The lunch-sized portion of chicken-fried rice costs $8, and the dinner serving costs $13 and comes with onion soup.
Also popular is filet mignon, sirloin steak and yakisoba, or fried Japanese noodles.
Wang said many customers also come in for the sushi because it is very fresh and the menu has a variety of Tokyo speciality rolls. When she took over, she asked the staff to buy smaller amounts of ingredients and make more trips to get them.
“I told the chef, ‘Make freshness a top priority,’” she said.
Wang thinks of Tokyo Steak House as a service for the community rather than just a way to make money.
“We get to know a lot of Round Rock people [because of the restaurant,]” she said. “It’s nice.”
She invites local high school students to work there during summer breaks and holds events in the restaurant. She said she enjoys being a part of the community.
“My husband and I, we have another chapter in life,” Wang said. “Another interesting one that we did not expect. It’s very exciting every day, and very hard work.”
201 Sundance Parkway, Suite D, Round Rock
Hours: Mon.-Thu. 11 a.m.-3 p.m., 5 p.m.-9 p.m.;
Fri.-Sat. 11 a.m.-10 p.m.; Sun. 11 a.m.-9 p.m.