Rocky point 餐廳開業典禮
Rocky point 餐廳開業典禮
視頻制作: DingDing TV
照片:David L. Potigian, Gallery Sur
Landmark Big Sur eatery gets full makeover
Rocky Point Restaurant reopens MondayBy PHILLIP MOLNAR
Herald Staff Writer
Peter Wang knows opportunity when he sees it.
The Pebble Beach man, originally from China, came to the United States in 1957 and rose quickly in the field of statistics, eventually earning a doctorate in probability theory.
Wang amassed a fortune from real estate investments, then used much of it to jump start education-based charities.
Now, at 76, Wang, along with his wife Grace, is taking on a new challenge as owner of the Rocky Point Restaurant, a 60-year-old Big Sur landmark known for its spectacular view but that has recently fallen into disrepair.
"I expect the restaurant to be successful," he said confidently Wednesday while sitting on new wooden furniture on the restaurant's patio.
An invitation-only grand opening is planned for Saturday, with the restaurant opening to the public Monday. The restaurant had been closed about two months.
Wang has recruited chef Christophe Bony from Casanova Restaurant in Carmel to come to Rocky Point, which will feature a menu of French cuisine.
"He's the best chef there is," Wang said of Bony.
Of 30 employees at the old restaurant, Wang said "the majority" will return.
Wang said he wanted to purchase the restaurant a decade ago, but the owners wanted $19 million, much more than he could afford.
After one of the owners died and several other offers fell through, Wang said, he was able to buy the property for $4.75 million in December — even giving the owners a 24-hour ultimatum to sell at his asking price.
The latest ownership group, made up of Bruce Jones, Donald Miller and Joan Miller, had it since 1999, said state and county records. Jones, a longtime Carmel Highlands resident, died in September at 84.
If Wang seems tight with his money, it's only because he plans to use it for a good cause. He said Rocky Point will be used to fund his philanthropic efforts.
In 2002, called to action after the Sept. 11 attacks, Wang gave $4 million to start the Wang Center for Global Education at Pacific Lutheran University in Tacoma, Wash.
The purpose of the center is to expand opportunities for college students to explore other cultures.
In 2004, he started the Wang Foundation, which sends American college students to do poverty alleviation work in rural areas of China.
Wang said that although he has never run a restaurant, his experience in statistics and hiring the right people will guide him.
He has spent about $500,000 to build a new gazebo, put in new carpet, tables and kitchen equipment and make dozens of repairs. He said the sewer pipes were "literally shattered into pieces."
Wang said he sees himself more as a "custodian" of Rocky Point and wants to restore the restaurant for the community.
Monta Potter, CEO of the Carmel Chamber of Commerce, said she was pleased the restaurant had a fresh look and feel.
"It's a world class site," she said, "so to have a new restaurant will be really exciting."
Even if business is slow at first, Wang still has some major media exposure to look forward to. The Chinese Ding Ding TV network filmed a program about the restaurant on Saturday that could potentially be seen by 100 million viewers, Wang said.
More than 1 million Chinese tourists came to the United States in 2011, according to the U.S. Department of Commerce. Preliminary data from the department show a 40 percent increase in 2012.
The county Convention and Visitors Bureau also targeted the rising amount of Chinese tourists coming to the United States with a $50,000 effort last year.
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