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Dragon Palace to open in Yun's Garden building

Sandy restaurateur preserving decor of former Yun's

OUTLOOK PHOTO: JOSH KULLA - A newly installed sushi bar will be a mainstay at the new Dragon Palace restaurant in Gresham. After nearly a year of renovations, Eric Lee is hopeful his new Dragon Palace restaurant will be ready to open in August in the former Yun’s Garden Restaurant at 1255 N.E. Cleveland Ave. at Burnside Road.

Crews are working in and out of the elaborately designed building, which the Yun family built and operated from the early 1980s until its closure about five years ago.

Lee, 43, whose family operated the Royal Garden restaurant in Sandy for 23 years until his father retired a couple of weeks ago, looks forward to the new venture, but puts first things first.

“We’re still focused on getting the work done,” the Southeast Portland resident said.

Lee is retaining the circular booth-seating areas on the first floor and second-floor mezzanine, while adding an oval-shaped sushi bar on the former dance floor under the naturally lit atrium in the center of the building. He’s also keeping the separate lounge area, located to the left of the entrance after visitors cross a bridge over a koi pond.

Lee estimates the restaurant will seat about 200 patrons.

“It’s coming out pretty nice,” he said of the project, noting the owners had considered selling the building to an owner with much different plans. “They said they would knock down the building, but the (Yun family) said that’s not good.”

Lee has hired his friend Jack Li as sushi chef, and will soon be hiring approximately 10 waitstaff and kitchen employees.

Those interested in jobs should keep an eye on the front door in the upcoming weeks, when Lee will post a hiring sign after most of the renovations are complete.

“When the restaurant is ready to open, that’s when I’ll be excited about the restaurant coming back,” he said.