By Jennifer Yin
Campus police contacted Danny Chin, 73, to inform him of a break-in at his restaurant, The Lunch Box, located at the center of Phelan Loop at 10pm on Feb. 12.
The thief or thieves left their mark by destroying two of Chin’s refrigerators containing bottled and canned beverages. Shattered glass littered the floor while workers meticulously cleaned shard after shard.
Thankfully, Chin and his employees retired from their night’s work prior to the robbery. Chin speculated the thief or thieves gained access to the inside of his restaurant by scaling the surrounding fence.
However, Chin continued to operate his business despite the robbery and vandalism. “They can break my stuff but they can never break my spirit,” said Chin.
The Lunch Box is one of City College’s hidden gems and has been in operation since 2004. The restaurant serves a wide variety of foods such as breakfast sandwiches, piroshki, and dishes fused from a combination of Chinese and Malaysian flavors.
One item in particular is Chin’s take on Malaysian curry where he adds chicken, potatoes, boiled eggs, and coconut milk to add a rich and sweet element to the dish. Chin then covers the curry with ramen noodles, carrots, onions, and lettuce.
“We are a very interesting outlet for the school because we have a different variety of food considering the limited resources we have for cooking. So right now we don’t even have an oven. We only have a barbecue oven, but the fire department and City Hall approves us because it’s outside,” Chin said.
Chin has been able to keep his business afloat for 13 years regardless of his restaurants limited resources, City College’s accreditation crisis, and being robbed multiple times.
“Thirteen years ago the restaurant was much busier then it is now. It [the accreditation crisis] had affected the business and student population,” Chin said. “Since we first started the student population has dropped by about 30% or more. Now we are not that busy and because the volume of business has gone down we had to cut slightly down on the hours.”
Regardless of his trials and tribulations, Chin continues to feel confident in the prosperity of his business. “I think us being here speaks something on why we are here for so long, but I think when it’s time to move on, we’ll move on,” Chin said.