Danny’s Chinese Kitchen adds Oceanside to Massapequa and Bellmore locations
The pandemic may have understandably been disruptive for numerous small businesses, but for brothers David and Danny Antin, they’ve managed to somehow navigate the understandably treacherous economic times. The sibling restauranteurs recently held a ribbon cutting to celebrate the one-year anniversary of their Massapequa Danny’s Chinese Kitchen location at Broadway, It not only followed on the heels of the opening of their Bellmore flagship business back in 2014, but also marked nearly a full year since the duo welcomed in friend Randy Klein as an equal partner.
It was enough of an added economic and man-power boost that the three friends are set to open another Danny’s Chinese Kitchen location in Syosset along with an Izakaya ramen sit-down restaurant in Oyster Bay by the end of the calendar year (more on that later). The seeds for restaurant ownership were first planted by younger brother and eatery namesake Danny, who decided to chuck a career working at a Big Four accounting firm seven years ago and make a career switch towards his true love—cooking.
“I realized that accounting wasn’t something that I loved to do,” he said. “So I thought about what I could do and I knew I had the experience of doing this for a long time as a kid. I kind of took a shot to see if I could do it on my own.”
Older sibling David followed suit, having been a silent partner for the restaurant’s first five and a half years before leaving a career as a top executive at a Manhattan-based investment research firm and joining Danny on the front-line. And while the 2021 opening of the Oceanside restaurant was actualy in the planning stages before Massapequa unexpectedly became a reality, the addition of Klein became a major game-changer. Like the Antins, Huntington native Klein was a longtime Merrick resident who’d become friends with his future business partners via the threesome’s involvement in the local community in addition to his working alongside David Antin at the same invesment company. In following the duo’s entrepreneurial journey from afar, it didn’t take Klein long to see the satisfaction his friends had been deriving from this career switch.
“[Randy] and I worked together back in our city days in finance and we stayed very close,” David recalled. “We were walking on the Merrick Mountain one day and he noticed that while he knew there was a lot going on, I seemed so much happier than when I was in the city. I told him I was and that’s it’s great to work for yourself. I told him I was still working hard, but it’s for me and I’m loving it, plus I get to work with my brother every day. Then he jokingly asked me when he would get to start. I laughed it off but the next week, he and his wife were over for a barbecue with some other friends and his wife asked when Randy was going to start working with me. I realized that maybe he wasn’t fully joking. Fast forward to almost a year this week, Randy joined us as an equal partner. He bought into the business.”
Klein is quick to agree with how much more fulfilling this new work-life balance has been for him.
“Like David said, I’m loving it,” Klein said. “I’m able to see my family all the time and I can be more a part of their daily lives. To me, that’s one of the greatest things. I was in a very hands-on senior role with my company in the city. But being hands-on in an executive role is very different. Here, one morning I might be making eggrolls.”
Focusing on Cantonese cuisine, all three Danny’s Chinese Kitchen locations are driven by a business model that rests on the use of high quality ingredients and food and top-shelf customer service in a high-volume environment. Equally important for the three partners is a commitment to maintaining close ties with the surrounding communities of each of their eateries. Over in their Merrick homebase, they cater lunch at the Lakeside School during the academic year. And in Massapequa, they’ve sponsored a Little League team and made connections with the Massapequa High School Football team and the local chapter of the Knights of Columbus.
Residents have responded in kind. Riding the wave of success from their current business endeavors, the Antins and Klein now have their sights set on Syosset and Oyster Bay, The former location will house another 1,500-square-foot Danny’s Chinese Kitchen at 113 Jackson Ave., on the site of a former jewelry store located across from the Syosset train station. The ramen restaurant, slate to open at 94 South St., on the site of the old Nikkei of Peru, a block away from town hall, is an entirely different venture. In addition to it being a shift from Chinese to Japanese cuisine, it will be a space that can seat 50 people and with the acquisition of a temporary liquor license, alcohol will be available. The inspiration for this culinary pivot came from David’s international travels in his previous business life.
“I had amazing experiences of getting to taste really great food all over the world,” he explained. “Believe it or not, one of the best meals I ever had in my life was in a really inexpensive dish of ramen. The taste of the broth and mix of the spices in there was amazing. It’s in pretty high demand here and I think our experience with customer service, marketing and operating means we have a pretty good chance of success with a sit-down restaurant like that.”
Visit www.dannyschinesekitchen.com for more information about Danny’s Chinese Kitchen.