How do you make a new retail center in Louisville’s East End look like a repurposed house in the middle of the Highlands?
“That is one of the biggest challenges we have. I am all about being consistent with the brand,” said Alvin Lin, owner of the Asian fusion restaurant Joy Luck. “How do you replicate something that is homey and cozy in a new, modern space.”
Joy Luck is opening its second Louisville location at 9850 Von Allmen Ct. in Suite 101 in a new development built and owned by Louisville developer The McMahan Group. Other businesses in the development — located near Costco — include World of Beer and Louisville’s Jerky Outlet.
To give the new space a similar feel to the old, workers with Ron Metts Construction have built walls to separate the dining room from the bar and split the dining room into compartments, similar to the old home Joy Luck resides in on Bardstown Road.
The East End Joy Luck also will have semi-private party room for larger groups.
Lin designed the new store with help from his mentor Karter Louis, owner of Hillbilly Tea, who’s spent a lot of time in Taiwan.
“He knows our culture very, very well,” Lin said.
The new 3,200-square-foot restaurant will have the same black, white and orange color scheme. All the orange walls will be painted with chalk paint, Lin said, similar to the Highlands store. Employees can write specials on those walls, and customers can draw pictures or write on them as well.
“I don’t like to have things that have one single purpose,” he said of the chalk walls. Lin declined to say how much he invested in the new space.
The new location is likely just the beginning for Joy Luck and Lin, who foresees opening multiple stores, possibly in different cities.
“I just gotta get a feel for where it should go. What you don’t want to do is open in certain areas of the city that don’t fit your clientele,” Lin said. “We are always very cautious when we are expanding. We don’t want to over-expand and over-extend ourselves.”
Lin still has some learning to do before growing aggressively, however.
“We are still trying to peg down who are clientele is …and that just comes with time,” he said, adding that he wants to ensure he can provide consistent service and food quality at multiple locations.
Lin started his expansion with the East End because he continued to get requests from east Louisville residents who would travel to the Highlands store. There also isn’t much in the way of local, Asian cuisine out that way, he said, and the median income is high, meaning residents can afford to regularly dine out.
Joy Luck currently is hiring 25 to 30 employees for its East End store. Those interested can email their resumes to [email protected]
The second Joy Luck location will host a soft opening either the first or second week of June, about two years after the first Joy Luck opened.
“We’ve been blessed with good and steady business.”