No high resolution image exists...
Traditional American breakfasts are served alongside authentic Chinese cuisine at Lei’s Kitchen, a new downtown restaurant on the corner of Seventh and J streets.
Chef and Manager Joshua Sprowls said the restaurant aims to serve affordable food quickly, catering to the downtown breakfast, lunch and dinner crowds.
“We’re gearing a lot toward state workers,” he said, adding that the restaurant is open from 6 a.m. - 9 p.m. every day, and some of the quicker ticket times are as little as five minutes during the daytime.
“They can come in here and get something to grab and go, sit at the counter, or maybe take a little longer and have a cup of coffee,” Sprowls said.
In the morning, American breakfasts such as three-egg omelets are served, as well as Sprowls’ biscuits and gravy, made from scratch.
For lunch, Chinese food is served, including dishes such as the popular general’s chicken, which is served with rice and topped with a sweet, spicy sauce.
“It’s similar to orange chicken, but it’s a bit spicier,” Sprowls said.
Other dishes such as Kung Pao beef and lemon chicken are also served.
Breakfast and lunch items range from $3 - $7, and dinner entrées run from $6 - $11.
Alcohol is not served, but the restaurant is connected to the next-door bar called Chambers Room, and food can be served in the bar from the restaurant.
The Chambers Room was shut down for about a month and a half, owner Susie Hill said, because one of the conditions of the alcohol license is that the space now occupied by Lei’s Kitchen serve food.
Before Lei’s Kitchen opened on Aug. 8, the space had been vacant since 2009.
Sprowls said the two businesses complement each other, and the location is ideal.
“We’re right here in the middle of downtown, and we have farmers markets nearby,” he said. “I like to the farmers market (in Cesar Chavez Plaza) and get my ingredients for the night’s specials.”
He said that Lei’s Kitchen sources its food locally, and he frequently buys from farmers markets for fresh ingredients.
“There’s no better feeling than walking through a farmers market in a chef’s coat and buying something you’re going to make that night at the restaurant,” he said.
Three members of the Lei family, which owns the restaurant, work in the location preparing the Asian dishes and working with Sprowls on the menu.
Sprowls said one of the hallmarks of the business is a large portion size for a reasonable price, and he’s hoping that helps the restaurant succeed despite a struggling economy.
Joe Lopez was one of the people who stopped by the restaurant for lunch on Friday, and he said he had beef and fried rice.
“The brown rice and the eggs and the beef were all really good,” he said, “And it’s a really good price.”
Hortense Calderon was another who tried the restaurant out on Friday, and she said she likes the place.
“I’d come back here every day,” she said.
You might not have time to check the site every day, but you can still keep up with our coverage with our weekly newsletter. The “News Digest” goes out every Tuesday morning and highlights our best stories, photos and videos from the week prior. Sign me up.