Henry's Hunan owner Eddie Zhu and District 11 Supervisor John Avalos
Each year during Small Business Week, San Francisco highlights the critical role that small businesses play in our local economy and in our neighborhoods. On Tuesday, May 15, 2012, the Board of Supervisors took time to commemorate the occasion by honoring one extraordinary small business in each district. This year, District 11 Supervisor John Avalos honored Eddie Zhu of Henry’s Hunan Restaurant, exclaiming “I am proud to have this gem of a restaurant in our district!”
Established in 1974, Henry’s Hunan Restaurant was founded by Zhu’s grandfather to weave the distinctive flavors of Hunan Province cuisine into a family-oriented dining experience for San Franciscans. Zhu himself was born in Hunan, China and immigrated to the United States in 1982 to join the family business. His first job in the restaurant business was as a dishwasher in Chinatown. In 2010, Eddie opened the Excelsior location of Henry’s Hunan at 4753 Mission Street at the site of the historic Granada Café.
Since Zhu and his family have taken over the former Granada Café, they have brought life back to this community institution.
“We opened locations in other parts of the City,” explained Zhu at the Board of Supervisor’s ceremony on Tuesday, “And it was always just business. As soon as my family moved to start a business in the Excelsior, we really felt something different. We felt such a strong community embracing us, and we really felt the love out here. Receiving this honor has made me feel that much closer to the City.”
Although he has only been in the neighborhood a short time, Zhu has proven to be a generous and stalwart advocate for the Excelsior community. Whether it is opening up his restaurant for community meetings, contributing food to neighborhood events, or participating as a Steering Committee member in the Excelsior Action Group, Zhu constantly finds ways to support community efforts.
In addition to its community advocacy, Henry’s Hunan also serves up a mean meal! The successful chain has earned high praise from the New Yorker magazine and a four and a half star rating on Yelp.com. “It’s a place where I go when I want to celebrate,” Kathryn Kathman, Excelsior Action Group Steering Committee Chair remarked, “But it’s also a place to go when I’ve had a hard day. I know I can find comfort food for the heart and the soul at Henry’s Hunan! I’m so glad the restaurant was chosen for this award, Eddie and his family really deserve it!”