The spring of 2020 was slated to be another strong quarter for Ling and Louie’s Asian Bar and Grill. Between spring training fans and locals enjoying the great weather dining in its patio, owner John Banquil was eager to make guests’ experiences memorable.

Then what was first dismissed as an exaggerated flu soon became the unimaginable; a pandemic that just about put every business to a screeching halt. “Not a single restaurant owner, or any business, for that matter was prepared,” says Banquil. “The most stressful thing for me and my wife was knowing we were responsible for the livelihood of our staff and their families.”

Soon after the initial state-wide shut down, many local restaurants had no choice but to close their doors. Banquil was able to stay afloat but had to think of ways to keep guests ordering take-out while providing his staff with adequate income. He hosted a gift card drive where half the face value of the gift cards purchased went straight to an employee relief fund. The other half covered the cost of the food and labor to prepare it. Banquil then promoted take-out family meal deals, including special feasts to-go for Easter and Mother’s Day.

Today, the dining room is open but mandated to only seat at 50 percent capacity. Take-out orders are still a bulk of the business. For September, aside from a first-ever BOGO, where a customer guest can enjoy one entrée at the restaurant and take another one to-go at half-off, Banquil will also be launching Ghost Street Asian Taqueria, a pop-up restaurant concept selling Asian-inspired tacos specifically to take-out and delivery only.

“We’re adjusting to what more and more families are wanting—delicious, flavorful, hearty meals to-go without compromising quality or value. Everything we’re creating we’d proudly serve our families,” he says. “I’m constantly thinking of how to keep guests happy.”

Banquil, a Scottsdale resident, says he and his family are committed to supporting other locally-owned and operated business. He says it’s important for his kids to learn to support those who support you.

“Today, I don’t take a single day in business for granted,” he says. “When a family comes in to dine or one of our regular guests orders a meal to-go, I know they’re a large part of our success and I’m grateful. Not a day goes by that I don’t look for ways to support another local business because it’s really just looking out for one of my neighbors.”

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