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The background to Peter Lu's long and successful career in restaurant management is an interesting one. Peter's first taste of entrepreneurship began when he was only 18. He came up with the brilliant idea of selling food to starving beach-goers during lunch time, and convinced his then-girlfriend to be his business partner. They spent an exhausting summer on the beach, with the heat of a tropic sun blazing down on them, providing a much needed service to the masses and beginning Peter's successful career as a "restaurateur." Now, a few decades later, that girlfriend, May, is still his business partner as well as being his wife of 30+ years and they are running one of the most successful eateries in Redding California, "Tokyo Garden Japanese Restaurant." They are as successful a team in business as they are as husband and wife, and Peter makes sure to supply his wife with face creams and sun-block to make up for the freckles she sustained from their first business venture together toiling in the relentless heat for his success.
When he wasn't cooking up new business schemes, Peter was also studying at University in Taiwan where he majored in diplomatic relations with a minor in restaurant operations. Peter ultimately decided not to pursue the idea of becoming a full-time diplomat, instead concentrating all his attentions on his increasing interest and involvement in restaurant operations. In fact, while working on getting his MBA, he acted as a consultant to the university to help improve the operation and financial well-being of the university's dining hall. His marketing acumen and operational expertise paved the way for many restaurant and business ventures. But despite having owned and operated several widely successful Chinese restaurants in Taiwan, Mr. Lu made the risky decision to go out on a limb and move his family to California to seek out new opportunities. He was looking for something different, and after extensive research found his niche in a storefront in Redding, California. Knowing this to be the ideal location, he opened first a Chinese restaurant, followed a few years later by Japanese-themed restaurant Tokyo Garden. Though barely able to speak English when he arrived in the U.S.A, through perseverance he was able to make Tokyo Garden the thriving business it is today.
From the beginning, Peter knew he wanted Tokyo Garden to be open 7 days a week, as he knew firsthand how frustrating it was to look forward to going out only to find that your destination is closed or unavailable until a certain time. Peter wanted his customers to feel like Tokyo Garden was always ready to welcome them with good food and a family friendly atmosphere. He eschewed the cold modern look of many Japanese restaurants today to create an establishment filled with traditional elements and a homey décor. With an interesting mix of paper lantern lamps, Japanese paintings and an authentic kimono on the walls, Tokyo Garden provides a warm and comforting environment for your dining experience. The food is also just as family friendly with many healthy and delicious alternatives to choose from all made with the freshest and finest ingredients. There really is something for everyone, from the uninitiated to the seasoned sushi connoisseur. There are all the varieties of freshly sliced Sashimi and Nigiri you could want and all the classic Americanized rolls to get you started on your sushi experience. In addition Peter likes to add new and exciting special rolls to cater to customer preferences and favorites, like the Volcano Roll or the Crazy Monkey roll. There are sizzling hot plates for meat lovers as well as various salads and vegetarian dishes, and they are always happy to make any dish vegetarian or vegan upon request. Kids have their own favorite combo selections including teriyaki chicken and steak as well as yam tempura or even fries. If you are like Peter's son Nolan, who following his father's example, likes to make up his own foods, you can try making the signature dish he invented when he was only 5 years old. Comprised of shrimp tempura, tempura sauce, rice, lettuce and his favorite, flying fish eggs, it is a dish he still likes to eat to this day. Over the years Peter has been gratified to see his love of Japanese cuisine reflected in the steadily increasing appreciation for sushi in Redding. Where once many locals may not have even tried raw fish, many like Nolan, who first started eating sushi when he was 5, are now regulars who order maguro and hamachi like pros and can't get enough of the miso soup and edamame.
Even though the restaurant industry is a tiring and demanding profession, Mr. and Mrs. Lu still find ample time to focus on the things that matter. They are devout Christians who feel blessed for their family, friends and their business. Despite the downturn of today's economy, they continue to contribute to the community and refused to do lay-offs or cut hours, because they knew how much it would hurt their extended family of employees. Although it is difficult, they know that now is when the need for giving is the greatest and they have faith that when people help support each other there can only be a brighter future.

Tokyo Garden truly is a family business as Peter's children have grown along side his restaurants. His two older daughters have spent countless hours at the restaurant, following their parents around after hours in the early days of the business. When they got older both daughters worked after school and on weekends as hostess, waitress, manager and even the occasional sushi chef. However, despite the success of the restaurant both Peter and May made sure to stress to their children and their employees the importance of education. They are always accommodating of school schedules and for their daughters work was never an acceptable excuse to let school work slide. They are very proud to have been able to see many of their employees move on to do other things and their daughters, Tina and Rona graduate from Yale University and the University of California Berkeley.

"I've worked very hard since immigrating to the US and owned many restaurants over the last three decades. However what makes me most proud is that my children aren't just following in my footsteps but have successfully carved their own way here in the United States", says Mr. Lu with a contented smile.

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