For the past decade, May Chen has been hosting a special Chinese New Year dinner for hundreds of friends and patrons at Double Happiness.
It’s a celebration of new beginnings that she hoped would include the re-opening of both her dining rooms this year. Both the Wrightsville Avenue and Ogden locations have been closed for in-house dining since last March.
But Chen said while she is eager to reopen, the timing still is not right for her to resume in-house dining. She said that until she is sure that all of her employees feel safe returning to work, the dining rooms will remain closed.
She is hopeful that the effort to vaccinate essential workers will progress quickly, and that the time for restaurant workers to be vaccinated will not be too far down the road. Until then, she is grateful to have a model that works well for carryout.
While Chen will not be able to provide the same experience as years past, the New Year’s dinner will still be available this Friday, Feb. 12, (which is Chinese New Year's Day) for pickup. The 10-course prix fixe menu features a variety of dishes designed to bring good fortune in the year ahead.
Menu items include spring rolls, sweet and spicy chicken wings, steamed dumplings, Cantonese fried chicken, beef with snow peas and lobster tail with ginger and scallions as well as vegetable dishes and dessert.
The menu is designed to feed two for $58.88, though additional guests can be added and two time slots for pickup are available at each location, 5 p.m. and 6:30 p.m.
Orders for Friday’s dinner must be placed by 9 p.m. Wednesday, Feb. 10 and can be placed by phone at either location.
For Chen, a big part of the New Year’s dinner is talking about the significance of the foods and sharing stories of traditional Chinese celebrations with her guests, as well as providing them with a small gift to commemorate the occasion.
“I truly hope that next year we can get back to our usual celebration,” Chen said. “Until then I wish everyone health and prosperity in the year of the Ox.”
To place an order for Friday’s dinner, call the Wrightsville Avenue location at: (910) 313-1088 or the Ogden location at (910) 686-1988.