It didn’t take long for chef Liu Ri to outgrow his eight-table restaurant. Rave reviews left the tiny, family-run Sichuan restaurant unable to keep up with demand just months after it opened. Nestled in an unassuming strip mall in Duluth, Atlanta’s best Chinese restaurant had diners crowding the take-out counter and waiting for tables from the parking lot for up to a hour. So when the storefront next door went up for lease, Liu knew what he needed to do.
Liu began filing for permits at the beginning of the year, and now he’s quietly unveiling the new space. After removing the dividing wall, Masterpiece now boasts 25 tables. Along with the increased capacity, Liu also plans to begin accepting reservations.
Now that Masterpiece can handle more customers, Liu knows he’ll need to bring in more staff to keep up with the demand. He plans to bring in at least three more people to wait tables, but he’s mostly focused on finding a new chef. Liu wants to bring in a chef from China who’s already accustomed to cooking with spicy, Szechuan flavors. For now, he’s planning on keeping the menu as-is, but he conceded that he might need to slim it down to reduce wait times, should his restaurant get any more popular.