Spring seems slower to come around this year. My daffodils, crocuses, and Lenten rose bloomed in February, though the lingering white and gray of winter still cling to the Ohio Valley. Even so, when you read this magazine the fairer season will be here.
For me and many of my neighbors here in Evansville, spring marks a time for renewal. It’s time to lighten the mood – to relax and renew. Spring brings forth plenty of local ideas from people who specialize in creating calm (“Relax and Renew,” page 32).
The March/April issue also showcases Flavors, our annual menu and dining guide. We enjoy covering food and dining in Evansville all year long, but especially in this issue, when we devote 50 pages to our culinary landscape. While we enjoy food today, it also ties us to our past, our heritage, and memories. I grew up in a family that dined out. My father owned a few pizza restaurants, so testing that fare around the Tri-State (and on vacations) was customary. Birthday dinners were special, though, and more than a few times my middle sister, Miekka, and I chose Shing Lee, on the Main Street “Walkway” (where it still operates, but Main Street is no longer a walkway) for our birthday dinners. I don’t know if I was more impressed with the fancy covered plates, the lush red curtain lining the dining room, with sequin dragon figures, or the delicious and exotic Shrimp Chow Mein. As I celebrated single-digit birthdays at Shing Lee, I didn’t know I was helping to make local food history.
Evansville has a strong and proud history with Chinese food. Shing Lee was the first Chinese restaurant to open in Evansville, though Chinese food was enjoyed for two decades prior at F’s Steakhouse, which operated at 125 SE Fourth St. for more than 40 years before closing in 1993. According to local lore, in the early 1950s F’s Anglo-American steakhouse owners had tasted Chinese food on a trip and liked it. When they returned to Evansville, there was a Chinese man at the restaurant doorstep looking for work. “If this is not the truth, it is a good story,” says Dennis Au, city of Evansville preservation officer. We’re sticking with it.
Shing Lee, the first Chinese restaurant started by an ethnic Chinese resident, opened in 1971 when Foo Shung “Frankie” Jung graduated from the University of Evansville. He decided, after a stint as an engineer at Whirlpool, to open Evansville’s first Chinese restaurant. Jung still owns and runs the restaurant today.
When our editorial team discussed feature story ideas for Flavors, we looked to the magazine’s comprehensive dining guide for inspiration. Struck by the volume of Asian restaurants in our area, we decided to showcase the broadly varying cuisine of the Pacific Rim.
As you welcome spring, consider investing in some R & R for yourself. For years I’ve called it “rest and relaxation.” Here we call it “Relax and Renew.” Employ some of our stress-reducing tips to create calm. Be inspired to enjoy music, learn a new craft, or seek a new dining experience.
As always, I look forward to hearing from you.
Kristen K. Tucker
Publisher & Editor
I invite you to read “300 Words” my editor’s blog. I post new entries to our website, www.evansvilleliving.com, each Monday, and past posts can be viewed in the blog roll. To enjoy our weekly electronic newsletter, E Living, as well, subscribe on our website.
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