SUNNYSIDE — When Javier Gonzalez moved to the Lower Valley from California, he noticed a lot of Mexican restaurants and food trucks, but none seemed to serve his favorite food — Chicken and Churros.
After opening a shop at West Wine Country Road in Grandview, Gonzalez decided to expand into Sunnyside, purchasing the landmark Golden Pheasant Chinese Restaurant which has been closed for many years.
Now in full remodeling mode, Gonzalez is focusing on bringing the building up to code for his new venture.
He and his crews are clearing out the old Chinese restaurant, disposing of old fixtures including the giant cooking woks in the old kitchen.
“We’ll be replacing the woks with grills,” he noted. “We are also remodeling the dining and banquet rooms and the lounge.”
“I’m shooting to open my second Javi’s Chicken and Churros Restaurant before Cinco de Mayo,” the entrepreuer predicted.
Since moving to the Lower Valley two years ago, Gonzalez has sought to invest his time and efforts into adding to the community in which he lives.
As Gonzalez has worked to clear out the Chinese elements, one of the biggest items up for disposal is the giant neon pheasant which has graced the exterior of the building for more than 45 years.
“I would like to see it preserved since is an iconic symbol in the community,” he remarked.
Gonzalez said his love of older buildings is what drew him to purchasing the former Chinese restaurant.
“I have been impressed with the many new activities happening in the downtown area, and I want to be a part of that growth,” he remarked.
When he announced the pheasant was for sale, a group of local people voiced concern that the colorful business sign might be destroyed.
“That is not my intent,” Gonzalez said. “But I do need to sell it, so I can reinvest the funds into the restaurant,” he said.
“I have someone in Oregon interested, but I’m hoping it will stay in the community if anyone can purchase it.”