A Lakewood Gem: Szechwan Garden
Lakewood is a city of abundance when it comes to choices for dining out. And with so many options for Chinese cuisine, I have discovered Chinese restaurants are not made equally. While there are so many little gems in our beloved city there is one that I believe that deserves to be highlighted. Szechwan Garden is a long established hidden treasure that seems to be a hidden secret among local Lakewoodites. Standing in their little plaza near Bunts and Detroit Rd. for over 30 years without fail they deliver offerings consistently, fresh, and seemingly unique in their respective dishes. Szechwan Garden rises above the rest in my humble opinion.
The owner How Lam, is a Lakewood native who has dedicated his life to this restaurant and the Lakewood Community for over 30 years. He arrives early in the morning and works well until the evening day in and day out 7 days a week. Originally, he immigrated from Vietnam to The United States following his vision of the American dream. Hoa Lam had lived in California, Nevada, and then Michigan before settling down with his new wife in Ohio in 1994 eventually having one son. He bought the restaurant from the previous owner in 1994 who decided to relocate and made Szechwan Garden his very own. He created new menus and brought in adaptations of various Chinese and Vietnamese dishes bringing his vision to life.
What really intrigued me is especially as a new Vegetarian myself is their Zen menu! For those of you who are not aware their “Zen” menu is actually vegan, and of course it’s also vegetarian. Can we for a moment appreciate that Szechwan Garden put out a Vegan menu well before being Vegan was as big as it is now? This was in early 2000’s and clearly Hoa Lam knew this would be key to his customers. After serving up delicious and authentic cuisine for 30 years there have been some employees who retired and thus brought in some fresh new faces.
The hostess you see now when walking into Szechwan Garden is actually family. Hoa Lam’s son married her daughter to blend their two families into one. Over the years there were bumps in the road causing an entire kitchen remodel which closed the restaurant for over a year which significantly impacted them. As a long time resident it is my belief we need to rally behind this beautiful family-owned business and show them our support as well as our love of their authentic Chinese cuisine. Without our locally owned Lakewood gems, our beautiful city would not be as diverse and wonderful as it is!
Long time Lakewood resident with a passion for our beautiful little city.