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Shaker Heights restaurant Pearl Asian Kitchen closing after 42 years

Rose Wong says she fully expected to go back to art after starting Pearl Asian Kitchen, but loves the work.

SHAKER HEIGHTS, Ohio — Pearl Asian Kitchen, a popular Shaker Heights restaurant that has been a staple of the community for more than 40 years, is closing next week.

A pearl is formed under extraordinary circumstances, when a grain of sand finds its way into a mollusk.

Not dissimilar to when Rose Wong found her way to Cleveland with a mission: Start a restaurant.

"I was an artist, I was in a barn making artwork, so I would be talking to people looking on the ground. My sister bought me a pair of high heeled shoes so I could go see the banker and I had to learn to walk," Wong said.

But developers, architects and family alike sensed something in her and plans started to solidify.

"They must have seen some kind of potential in me I had no idea that existed. You know, every day we owe so many people so much money during construction at the age of 26, I had a debt load of $350,000 on my back," Wong said.

There was potential in what they tasted. Classic Chinese dishes done in a way that has had families coming back for generations.

The Pearl became a community gem shining for 42 years.

"You can expect people to know your name, to know exactly what you ate last time, I mean it's amazing how they can remember people's names and I know faces better than I know names," Wong said.

Over the years, Pearl Asian Kitchen has been polished and put on display around Shaker Heights. Now Wong says it's time to say her thank yous and figure out what's next.

"This is enjoying life, this is what I do, this is what I love, this is not work, so I don't know, after next Thursday, I have no idea," Wong said.

Pearl Asian Kitchen's last day open will be Thursday June 30. 

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