The Loop Newspaper - Tehachapi's Online Community News & Entertainment Guide

By Scott Ware
contributing writer 

Good fortune for Tehachapi – meet the new owner of the Great Wall restaurant

 

September 17, 2022

Scott Ware

Pictured from left to right: Previous owner Deanna with K.B.'s parents Xiadi Chen and Hong Lin, Shengqi Li and Kaibin Chen (K.B.).

A culinary makeover from the inside out has taken place at the Great Wall Chinese restaurant over at 807 Tucker Rd., Ste. F., in Tehachapi. A new family has taken over all operations and tasty new menu items are now available.

The friendly and humble Kaibin Chen (K.B.) – who has worked as a waiter at Great Wall for six years – purchased the restaurant from the previous owners and brought his parents, Xiadi Chen and Hong Lin, in to cook. They have experience cooking professionally in China, Germany and the United States.

K.B. said he enjoys making sure the diners are very satisfied with the quality and taste of their dishes. He even personally chooses the music that plays over the speakers, creating a pleasant dining experience.

There's a fresh, brighter taste to traditional dishes like orange chicken and Kung Pao shrimp, and a few new recipes which adventurous diners and foodies will appreciate.

They have expanded the seafood options on the menu and on the buffet, which now includes whole fried calamari, seafood deluxe and sushi.

Their all-you-can-eat buffet is $13.95 for lunch and a reasonable $14.95 for dinner. The décor remains welcoming, with high-end paintings and captivating Chinese artwork.

Their buffet is excellent, which includes popular Chinese dishes like cream cheese wontons; soup, including egg drop, and hot and sour; black pepper chicken; potstickers; Kung Pao chicken and more. New items rotate on the buffet throughout the week.

K.B. and his siblings have a light touch when they greet you in the restaurant, and they allow you to sit wherever you like. It's clear to see that Great Wall delivers a high level of quality, care and hospitality that corporate restaurant chains can only hope to get from their employees. Family-run businesses fit right in here in Tehachapi, and Great Wall's good fortunes – and ours – are just beginning.

A closer look

When K.B. was still living in China, he became a high-jump champion (he is quite tall and lean). He wanted nothing more than to be a physical education teacher or coach but, when he found out his family had a significant debt, he came to the United States to work and pay off the debt.

Imagine moving to a country where no one speaks your language and where nothing outside the bus window looks like your home, especially the snow on the way to a prospective job in Oregon. K.B. didn't even understand what "soy sauce" meant in English.

When the job in Oregon didn't work out, it remained challenging to navigate life here. K.B. helped an elderly lady carry her bags at the bus station, who then bought him a hamburger, which touched him deeply. He was only eating one meal a day back then, although he still had an attitude of gratitude. He eventually found more work and did indeed pay off his family's debt.

When I asked K.B. what he loved about Tehachapi, he said, "The people, who are always so nice." And the town of Tehachapi itself, which has been a good place to do business. He's aware of how different it would be to run a restaurant in a place like Los Angeles.

The pandemic definitely affected the business and perhaps paved the way for this pivotal change of ownership. When the previous owner decided to sell, K.B. and his family seized the opportunity to reinvigorate and revitalize the menu, while keeping it affordable and very tasty.

May K.B. and his family's good fortune continue. See you at the Great Wall.

 
 

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