Patch spoke with Dan Nguyen about Dragon Rouge’s relocation to the former Aroma Restaurant site.
Owners: Dan Nguyen, Jimmy Luu and Scott Luu.
Dragon Rouge opened in 2007 just a block away from Alameda High. How are all those students going to get to you now that you moved next to the Park Street bridge? We’re only about a block from , so students can just shoot over after practice. We’re going to miss our old location, but sometimes it’s hard to find parking in that area. Here, we have a parking lot right next to the Park Street Bridge.
What are you keeping the same and what are you changing? The menu’s the same, though we will probably do a lot of specials. But the main menu is our bread and butter. My aunt, Mai Cao [Jimmy and Scott’s mother], is still here. She does everything!
The ambiance, the colors — we’re trying to keep everything consistent. A lot of the staff are the same. We’ve also picked up some of the Aroma staff who were here for years and years.
The only thing different is it’s bigger so we can accommodate bigger parties. This is quadruple the size. Our old location had about 1,300 square feet and seated 35 people and it was tight. This location has 5,000 square feet inside and can seat 100 people very comfortably. And there’s another 2,000 square feet outside that we haven’t even touched yet. That’s our next focus — to make the patio very comfortable and homey. I imagine some fire pits, umbrellas, some cabanas. With the coming, there’s going to be some beautification of the shoreline along the estuary.
What has been the key to your success in Alameda? Vietnamese food is very popular now and we’ve managed to keep our authentic Vietnamese cuisine yet add a little flair to it to make it more exciting. Ever since we were featured on Check, Please! in July, business has been amazing. We’ve had people drive here from Sacramento, Napa and even as far as Bakersfield.
All of us in the partnership have grown up here in Alameda. We are family people and we try to treat our guests like family, like they’re over in our house.
Dragon Rouge is now located at 2337 Blanding Avenue. Telephone: 521-1800.