Crystal shrimp. (Photo by Kathy Tran)

Crystal shrimp. (Photo by Kathy Tran)

Royal China has kept customers well-fed for 43 years

Four generations of customers have made Royal China their go-to restaurant to celebrate birthdays or catch up with old friends.

The eatery has been a neighborhood staple since 1974, when Shu-Chang “Buck” Kao opened its doors at Preston Royal Village. The retired colonel and diplomat recently had immigrated to the US and sought to serve authentic Chinese cuisine, then an uncommon offering in Dallas.

Now Buck’s son and daughter-in-law, George and April, co-own the restaurant. The menu has evolved over the years to include American-Chinese fare and traditional regional dishes. In 2008, the Preston Royal Village establishment underwent a makeover, adding a dumpling bar to the mix.

It didn’t take long for Royal China’s popularity to quadruple, April says.

The Kaos never imagined the eatery would have the legacy it does or that they’d serve four generations of families.

“I didn’t think I would be here still,” April says. “That’s rewarding to see people who went away and come back and still go into our restaurant.”

Royal China transforms into a revolving door of reunions during summer and winter vacations. Out-of-towners return in droves to satisfy their cravings for homemade dumplings and hand-pulled noodles.

It is the epitome of a family business. Two of the couple’s nephews work alongside them. Eventually, they hope their daughter will decide to take over the family tradition. In the meanwhile, the couple continues experimenting with new ideas and treating customers like family, the Kaos one constant the past 43 years.

“You always learn every day, and I am OK with what I do right now,” April says.

Did You Know: April Kao captured the black-and-white images from across the globe that decorate Royal China’s walls.

Royal China
Ambiance: upscale, modern restaurant
Price Range: $15-$25
Hours: 11 a.m.-2:30 p.m. Sunday-Friday; 4:30-9:30 p.m. Sunday-Thursday; 4:30-10 p.m. Friday-Saturday
6025 Royal Lane, suite 201

Dumpling sampler with pork, chicken, shrimp and vegetables. (Photo by Kathy Tran)

Dumpling sampler with pork, chicken, shrimp and vegetables. (Photo by Kathy Tran)