Longtime restaurant closed Permanently. Here’s what’s taking its place

It’s been several months since longtime Chinese restaurant Jen Jen’s closed in Overland Park.

Mario Candia — who owns Dragon Empire Chinese Buffet in Overland Park — began eyeing the vacated space near Glenwood Antique Mall soon after. He decided it would be the perfect spot to open his second Chinese restaurant and began getting the location at 9066 Metcalf Ave. ready for opening day. (Which still was an arduous process, even though he was converting one restaurant to another, Candia added.)

Candia’s new Chinese restaurant, Sacred Wok, opened last Thursday afternoon. It offers many of the same delicacies as Jen Jen’s: vegetable fried rice, sweet and sour chicken, crab Rangoon, etc. Candia recommended the chicken with cashew nuts for $9.25. While Candia serves Chinese cuisine, he himself is Mixtec, or indigenous Mexican. So why open a Chinese restaurant? Long story, but Candia gave the shortened version: His father, who’s the chef at Sacred Wok, immigrated to the United States in the ‘90s and soon began working in a Chinese restaurant.

Cooking at his own Chinese restaurant seemed like a natural progression. “We want to have people taste our cooking, our flavor,” Candia said. In the dining room, red paper lanterns hang above, and a faux cherry blossom tree sits by the entrance.Candia loves food, of course, but he’s most passionate about the people who walk through his restaurant doors. “It’s why we work in a restaurant — we can talk to customers, co-workers and that,” he said. Sacred Wok is open from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. Sundays through Thursdays, and 11 a.m. to 9:30 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays.

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