By: Eric Sandbulte, The Brookings Register

The family behind the newest restaurant in Brookings, Wok N Go, can’t wait for the first customers to walk in when it opens in a few weeks.

Located in Brickwood Plaza along Sixth Street, Wok N Go is owned by Steve Zhang. At the moment, there is no solid opening date, but it’s expected to be ready to open in late June.

Zhang’s brother-in-law, Elvin Gao, spoke to the Register about the family’s latest restaurant. The family knows a thing or two about restaurants, operating about 10 of them through the Midwest, including in Watertown, Vermillion and Brandon. Gao manages the Brandon location. The stores are independent of one another rather than a chain.

So having established stores in the region, when they were looking for another location to come to, they liked the looks of Brookings.

“We’ve been doing research about the population and the school here,” Gao said. “This is really good for a Chinese restaurant.”

As the name “Wok N Go” implies, the main focus of the restaurant will be Chinese take out. On the menu will be standard Chinese food offerings, like General Tso chicken and crab rangoon. For the most part, they will start out with a similar menu to their Brandon location as a way to see what tastes Brookings prefers.

Some of the popular foods that can be expected include honey chicken and ginger chicken. The ginger chicken is a point of pride as not everyone serves it.

“We’re the only ones serving the ginger chicken in the Sioux Falls area, except the ones related to us in Watertown and Vermillion. That’s our signature,” Gao said.

As they establish themselves and get to know the tastes of Brookings, they might introduce different menu items.

“Every region is different,” Gao explained. “Some things do really well in Brandon, and it’s not far, … so we’re going to sell the same stuff first to see if people are going to like it.”

The menu isn’t the only thing that could change in the future. If things go well, options like delivery might be considered, as they’ve done at other restaurants of theirs.

It’s a cozy location in Brickwood Plaza along Sixth Street. Although take out is the focus, there will be four or five tables set up for customers to sit at and eat their orders.

“We have a lot of college kids here, so sometimes they probably will want to eat in the restaurant, so we’re going to do that,” Gao said.

In the kitchen, the main feature is a wok range with six spots, each of which will have a designated task such as grilling, deep frying and one for frying rice. There are still some important things left to do in the kitchen, such as making sure the cooler’s able to maintain its temperature and bringing in the freezer. After that, they can get some of the final paperwork done and open the store for business.

It’s been a long road getting the former chiropractic space transformed into a Chinese restaurant, but it’s one Gao and his family are ready to see fulfilled.

“Hopefully we will run good here …. We’re putting a lot of stuff in here, and we want to keep this place forever,” Gao said. “It’s a lot of time on all the design, and Steve created it. He put a lot of time in this restaurant, so hopefully it’s going to be good.”
Contact Eric Sandbulte at

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