Asian restaurant set to simmer in Dinkytown area

Pagoda will have a classy atmosphere, inexpensive fares and a make-your-own noodle bar.

Kelly Gulbrandson

A new restaurant plans to offer yet another option for Chinese cuisine in the Dinkytown area – a fourth option, to be exact.

The restaurant, called Pagoda, will take the place of what used to be CD Warehouse at 1417 Fourth St. S.E.

Justin Lin, Pagoda’s owner, said he hopes to bring in students when Pagoda opens, which he hopes will be at the end of this month.

“This restaurant will have a modern Chinese look with an authentic Chinese cuisine,” Lin said.

Lin said several things will set Pagoda apart from the three other Chinese restaurants in Dinkytown, including a make-your-own noodle bar.

To entice late-night eaters, Lin said he plans to keep the restaurant open until 3 a.m. on weekends and midnight on weekdays.

Pagoda also plans to offer beer and wine, which differs from the other restaurants, Lin said. He plans to have a happy hour as well.

Skott Johnson, president of the Dinkytown Business Association, said the city has not notified him about the new restaurant.

He said he wouldn’t be notified unless the new restaurant would need a permit or license, such as to stay open late or serve liquor.

Lin said a public hearing to obtain a liquor license for the restaurant is scheduled for Sept. 26.

Graphic design sophomore Jamie Wacholz said there are too many Chinese restaurants in the area already, and she would rather see something else go in the space.

“An ice cream parlor or a cute little café would be nice,” she said.

Johnson said the new restaurant will have an impact on the existing restaurants in the area because there is only so much money that can be spread around.

Phaung Kuo, owner of Hong Kong Express, another Dinkytown Chinese restaurant, said he is worried about competition with Pagoda, but hopes to keep his restaurant’s customer base by maintaining low prices.

Hong Kong Express doesn’t serve alcohol, Kuo said, but it does have a buffet.

If Pagoda has a buffet, it might affect his business, he said.

Kiet Phan, owner of Camdi, a Dinkytown Vietnamese and Chinese restaurant, said increased competition worries him.

“There are already too many restaurants in the area,” he said. “There is nothing we can do about it, though.”

Phan said it’s not necessary for Pagoda to serve alcohol because there are already bars in the area.

Lin said he isn’t trying to compete with the other Chinese restaurants, but wants to offer students a place to hang out and eat a fast meal.

“Pagoda will have a fine dining atmosphere with an affordable cost,” he said.