PLACERVILLE, CALIFORNIA
THE HO FAMILY has operated the Royal Dragon Restaurant since 1995. They are from left: John, Christina, Matthew, 13; and Kelvin, 20. Not pictured is son Jonathan, 22, who attends college at San Diego State University. Photo by Rebecca Murphy

THE HO FAMILY has operated the Royal Dragon Restaurant since 1995. They are from left: John, Christina, Matthew, 13; and Kelvin, 20. Not pictured is son Jonathan, 22, who attends college at San Diego State University. Photo by Rebecca Murphy

Secrets of Success 2011

Georgetown’s Chinese restaurant in 2nd decade

By From page D2 | January 06, 2012

Christina and John Ho have operated the Royal Dragon restaurant in Georgetown since 1995. The family business was opened by their brother-in-law, Roger La, in 1993 to rave reviews from the public.

With only one other ethnic food eatery (Parra’s Mexican Restaurant) in the town prior, the change of pace for the community was welcome.

“We opened July 1, 1995,” said Christina, who is the welcoming hostess and waitress at the Royal Dragon, located at 6326 Highway 193 in Georgetown. “One month later we opened the buffet.”

On Christmas Eve and New Year’s Eve the buffet always features specialty items such as snow crab, walnut prawns and barbecue spareribs. On those days, reservations are requested but most other days are not required.

The Hos have been in the food service industry for nearly 30 years, working in and as proprietors of restaurants from Texas to the San Francisco Bay Area. Christina said she bases their success on the number of hours they spend buying and preparing their menu.

“Individually, we spend 80 hours a week,” she said. “We work from 8 a.m. to 9 p.m. nearly every day.”

Although the eatery is closed on Tuesdays, the couple still spends at least half a day prepping for the coming days.

Both Christina and John were born in North Vietnam to Chinese parents, coming to the U.S. in 1980. Their parents ended up residing in the Bay Area, where they met through common work, but not in food service, which came later in their married lives. Both speak several languages, including Mandarin, Cantonese, English and “a little Vietnamese,” said Christina.

As John serves as the chef of the business, they bring a variety of ethnic flavors to their food.

“Our recipes are all homemade,” said Christina, emphasizing that their specialties include snow crab, barbecue spareribs, spicy eggplant and spicy prawns.

Christina said the success of the restaurant comes from the couple’s dedication and friendly service “to everyone.” She also said their enjoyment of food is a contributing factor.

“If you don’t love to eat, you won’t taste anything,” she said. “I have to taste everything to make sure it’s good.”

The couple make their home in Rescue with their three sons — Jonathan, 21; Kelvin, 20; Matthew, 13 — all of whom have grown up in the family business.

The Royal Dragon Chinese restaurant is open for service Wednesday through Monday, from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. Take-out is available by calling 530-333-2868.

Rebecca Murphy

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