2018 George & Donna Burdick Business Award – China Stix
Nestled in the Santa Clara Town Centre, this spacious and welcoming restaurant is doing more than serving up delicious dishes. China Stix Restaurant is a family-owned business that opened their doors to the community almost 30 years ago. Known for their authentic cuisine inspired by the different regions of Asia: Mandarin, Szechuan, and Taiwanese, all under one roof. Chef/owner Frank Chang was born in Taiwan and followed his parents for the “American Dream”. He strived to be successful and pursue a better life, graduating from Santa Clara University with an MBA degree in 1985 and becoming a U.S. Citizen in 1987.
Frank met his wife, Betty, who was born in Canton, China, while working as a busboy. They realized their dream of owning a successful Chinese restaurant, opening China Stix in 1989 with Frank’s parents working in the kitchen making green onion pancakes, handmade noodles, and the delicious pot stickers that inspired the restaurant’s name. Using only fresh and quality ingredients in their recipes, China Stix was voted Best Mandarin Chinese Restaurant by Readers of Sing Tao Daily Chinese Newspaper and Reader’s Poll Santa Clara Valley Weekly’s Best Chinese Restaurant three years in a row. Martin Yan of Yan Can Cook says, “When I want to polish my skill, this is where I come and learn from the master … Frank is a gentleman and is passionate about food. He loves to eat as much as I do and that’s why the best of China’s cuisine is right here in China Stix!”
The Chang family has always been dedicated to serving their customers the freshest food and bringing the community together for meetings, special occasions, banquets, celebrations or just a friendly place to share a great Chinese wine. Many customers arrange their special moments at China Stix, like a first date, anniversaries, baptisms, birthdays, confirmations, graduations, retirement, Father’s Day, wedding parties, Mom’s birthday, and leave with big smiles. The restaurant business was not an easy family life and every holiday they worked hard. Their son, Lawrence, and daughter, Ashley, appreciated their efforts and went on to college and successful careers.
In 2010, Frank started leading culinary tours of China for his restaurant customers, professional chefs and friends, using his personal and professional connections to ensure great dining experiences. World renowned chef, Martin Yan, asked Frank to help the Culinary Arts Centre in Shenzhen, China, with chefs visiting from the U.S. and other countries to learn the nouvelle Chinese cuisine at the school. Frank loves what he does and encourages all to, “Enjoy your life while you can.”
Frank is a long-standing, strong supporter of the community. He is an inspired member of the Rotary Club of Santa Clara and their many programs, PTA, Mission Lions Foundation and Santa Clara Host Lions Club dedicated to preventing blindness, the Santa Clara Woman’s Club, and Santa Clara Unified School District, to name a few. He supports the Association of Chinese Cooking Teachers (ACCT), a nonprofit promoting the cuisines and cultures of Asia and forum for food professionals, culinary students, food purveyors and all food enthusiasts to network and exchange information and ideas. Frank helped raise funds and lead students from Cabrillo Middle School on tour of Changsha, China, in the Hunan Province. “Volunteer system is the biggest U.S. resource – everybody putting in to help community service”, says Frank. “Get more involved with your community, try to help people if you can and don’t be shy with your kindness and love.”
Frank is a humble community leader and continues to support the community of his chosen homeland year after year, making him deserving of the 2018 George & Donna Burdick Business Award.