By Catherine Hathaway
Flo’s fetes 20 years of Chinese food with new recipes
When a restaurant has been around for 20 years, you know there has to be a good story behind it. Flo’s is no exception.
A Hong Kong native, Florence “Flo” Chan has been in the restaurant business since college. “I’ve always worked in a restaurant,” Chan says. “I loved the restaurant business. Especially after I met Dustin and he loved the restaurant business, too. Then we went for this adventure.”
“Dustin” is Dustin Wallace, her husband, with whom she opened her first restaurant in 1997. It has since blossomed into a three-location operation. The original restaurant, Flo’s McDowell Mountain, opened doors at 15027 N. Thompson Peak Parkway in Scottsdale. Two years later, Flo’s Promenade followed, opening a second Scottsdale location at 16495 N. Scottsdale Road. The latest expansion, Flo’s Tempe, opened in 2015 at 788 E. Baseline Road in Tempe. The dishes are affordable, too. Soups range from $6.50 (egg drop) to $11.95 (pho beef noodle), while entrees cost about $10.75 to $16.95.
Wallace runs the business side of Flo’s. He is incredibly proud of Chan and her passion for the food and the customers who have been supporting her.
“I just want to say thank you to the community who helped and supported us for the last 20 years,” Chan says. “I love selling Asian food to our neighborhood again and again. Daughters, sons and grandkids. I see three generations sometimes. I appreciate it all.”
To thank the community, Chan and her chef, Danny Lee, are creating new recipes that are being released periodically throughout the year on a special menu.
“It will become a different new short menu or specialty with four or five different items,” Chan says.
Chan met Lee in a restaurant, and he is equally as enthusiastic.
“We were in the Chinese restaurant together and that’s how I met him,” Chan says. “And he just came from Vietnam at that time, so he hadn’t spoken English. I helped him out a little bit. He learned a lot and then he became the most fantastic chef.”
The style of food Flo’s serves is unique. She says they cater to the tastes that are popular with her customers, while still sticking with Chinese culture and Southeast Asian influences.
“I enjoy and introduce Chinese culture to our customers,” Chan says. “A little bit of everything – Singapore, Thailand, Philippines, Japan and China. For American customers, it’s a little bit of a different taste.”
Chan says her customers enjoy the spicier dishes, but there’s something for everyone. She loves when families bring their kids in to enjoy the meal together. She is excited to share the specialty menu with her customers at all three Flo’s locations in the Valley. Of the upcoming dishes, Chan enjoys the “chicken lettuce cups that represent spring time. Especially for Chinese New Year.”
The specialty menu will be changing all year long and Flo’s is humbled to share this momentous occasion celebrating 20 years with their loyal patrons and community. “They all say, ‘Congratulations and two thumbs up,’” Chan says.