Former 40/40 Club employee manages healthy new restaurant in Dover

It’s easy finding eateries in Dover. But it’s harder finding one that doesn’t offer food made with preservatives.

A solution to this problem is the newly opened Family Kitchen restaurant, on 1466 E. Lebanon Road.

Family Kitchen’s mission is based on providing clean, delicious and healthy eating. Menu items include salmon, tofu, chicken, pork and shrimp.

Customers can purchase single meals or the meal-prep option, the latter of which offers a week's worth of freshly packaged meals.

Family Kitchen is run by Michael Shen and his nephew, Travis Wong, who's the managing partner.

Wong has managed several posh restaurants in New York City such as Black Tap, Tao Group and Chalk Point Kitchen. He also bartended at rapper Jay-Z’s The 40/40 Club.

Wong, 31, dished on why it was important to open a business in Kent County, great business advice he’s received at The 40/40 Club, and more.

How would you describe Family Kitchen?

We sell food at a reasonable price. We really take care of our food. Quality wise, our standards are really high. We’re sourcing our meats daily or bi-daily. We make sure we don’t freeze any food. Our produce is as fresh as can be. We don’t put preservatives in our food. So I’m really out here to bring a little bit of freshness to the meals. New York City is very health-conscious. People are always on diets. That’s why we also offer a prep-meal portion of our menu.

Why was it a good idea to open your business in Kent County?

There used to be a business at this location called Meat Mechanics. And the owner gave us a good deal for this space, in terms of [the infrastructure.] The price was just right to take over this place. 

How long have you worked in the hospitality business?

I started off when I was 19. I started bartending and worked at Jay Z’s club: The 40/40 Club. I networked a lot and I really got to know New York City and the hospitality scene within it. It led to solid connections that’ve allowed me to do bigger and better things at different positions too: starting off as an office manager and general managing at places. 

What’s the best business advice you’ve received?

The 40/40 Club is where I really learned about how each employee will affect the overall business, because they were really about individual sales; and knowing how to be a salesman, as well as provide great service, in terms of upselling and making sure the guest is comfortable in their environment; because at that place, they’re spending $400 on a bottle of liquor. Just for that to happen, you have to make sure the service is on point with the price you’re paying. You don’t want to pay $400 and feel like you’re being mistreated. Also, they were very particular about everything being in the right place and being extremely clean by the end of the night.