After 32 years in Fallon, family-owned Golden Rice Bowl closes

From left are Jack Yee, Sandy Wong, Elsa Lee, Ann Tam and Patrick Tam.

From left are Jack Yee, Sandy Wong, Elsa Lee, Ann Tam and Patrick Tam.

FALLON, Nev. — Their sign along Williams Avenue has been a familiar fixture for more than three decades.

Since 1987, the family-owned Golden Rice Bowl has served thousands of Chinese dinners and provided just as many — if not more — takeout meals to area residents or travelers coming through Fallon or staying here for a day or two.

Now, the Lee and Tam families have decided this is the right time to retire, and they served their last meal on St. Patrick's Day.

“We came here and liked the area,” said co-owner Elsa Lee, as she was talking to customers about starting the business located at 1760 W. Williams Ave. “It was slow paced.”

That was in 1987, and a year later her sister, Ann Tam, arrived in Fallon from Hong Kong to help run the business. Both Lee and Tam became naturalized citizens. Over the years the Golden Rice Bowl developed a base of loyal customers.

“Feeling sad!” wrote Becky Dendauw on the restaurant's Facebook page. “This is the last dinner at our favorite Chinese Food place. After 32 years they have decided to retire, and today is their last day.”

Jessie Lund Archer agreed.

“Best Chinese in town and the nicest people,” she wrote. “They'll be missed.”

After running the restaurant six days a week and 12 hours or more a day, Lee said the timing was right to step down, but the family doesn't have anyone to take over the business.

For the next month, they'll do a final cleaning and pack up the dishes, pans and eating utensils. Then, they'll think of taking that long-awaited vacation.

Elsa's son Raymond, who lives in Reno, said he worked a night or two while going to Churchill County High School and during the summer.

He said the family toyed with the idea of retirement during the recession, but they decided to keep the doors open. Not only did Raymond earn extra money working at the restaurant as a student but an older brother, Chun, and his cousins, Carmen and Ann Tam, learned the trade.

“My brother said he remembers when they opened, and (Lahontan Valley News) ran an article and had a picture of him when he was 7 behind the register,” Raymond recalled.

On closing day, Carmen traveled from Los Angeles to help wait on tables. Both Carmen and Wendy live together in Los Angeles and are certified public accountants.

“I'm staying here,” Elsa said. “I have no desire to live in Los Angeles The rent is too expensive.”


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