Oriental Express restaurant in Boise to close

132094_131261836937879_5831596_oGolden Phoenix Oriental Express — known to most diners as just Oriental Express — will close at the end of the year.

Always-friendly husband and wife owners Jimmy and Chau Yuan are ending the chapter on a part of Downtown Boise that’s been around since 1996.

The Idaho Statesman reviewed the restaurant two months ago.

Jimmy Yuan says he plans to retire: “It’s been a good run,” he says. “I’m 62. That’s old enough.”

The last day of the restaurant will be Dec. 31. The Yuans plan to continue operating their food cart in the summer.

The big question: Where will Record Exchange and Neurolux employees and customers eat now?

Update: Because of extenuating circumstances, I wrote this original brief blog post in about 3 seconds flat. Now that I have a moment, I’d like to share this anecdote: Back in the day, I would always order my kung pao chicken “as spicy as you can make it.” Jimmy would bring it out of the kitchen dramatically, then watch me eat while shaking his head. To this day, I’m not sure if he was impressed or just goofing. Or both. It didn’t matter. The Yuans’ friendliness and zest for life is why their customers love and will miss them.

Michael Deeds is the Idaho Statesman’s entertainment columnist and Scene magazine editor. His column runs Fridays and Sundays. He appears on the 6 p.m. broadcast of "Today's 6 News" on Thursdays and hosts a music show, "The Other Studio," from 9-10 p.m. Sundays on 94.9 FM The River.

Posted in Words & Deeds