Today's Special: Chinese friends prepare to open Lao Sze Chuan eatery

Today's Special: Chinese friends prepare to open Lao Sze Chuan eatery

CHAMPAIGN — Two high school pals from China who attended different universities in the United States are partners in a soon-to-open Chinese restaurant.

Nikki Wan, 25, and Chuan Zhan, 25, are opening Lao Sze Chuan in the Latitude building, 608 E. University Ave., C, in August.

Nikki Wan owns Latea Bubble Tea Lounge at 601 S. Sixth St., C.

"We serve all the organic tea drinks," she said.

Wan and Zhan were high school buddies in the Sze Chuan province of China. Wan enrolled at Purdue and Zhan studied electrical engineering at the University of Illinois.

Two years ago, they decided to join forces to plan a restaurant, choosing Latitude because of its proximity to the UI campus.

"There is a huge population of international students at the University of Illinois, so we believe there is a market for authentic Chinese food," Wan said.

The restaurant seats 110 people and features art from China.

Zhan said the Sze Chuan province is noted for its flavorful and spicy food, with its signature product being the Chef's Special Dry Chili Chicken. It is a crispy stir-fried dish with a tender inside.

The restaurant will have about 20 employees.

Sections (2):News, Business
Topics (1):Restaurants

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