Co-owner Hung Liu (left) stands with waitress Helen Chen in front of the buffet at Rainbow Town, the new Chinese restaurant on Warren Street. Staff photos
Co-owner Hung Liu (left) stands with waitress Helen Chen in front of the buffet at Rainbow Town, the new Chinese restaurant on Warren Street. Staff photos

Downtown Trenton’s newest Chinese restaurant opened for business Dec.11, bringing life to a storefront that had stood vacant longer than most downtown shops have been open.

As near as anyone can tell, Rainbow Town is the first business to occupy

111 S. Warren St. in 24 years. Bruce Marchesi and Joe Festa, who cut hair at the State Barber Shop that now operates across the street from Rainbow Town, recall Brownie’s Barber Shop as the last store to fill the space. It was sold in 1983, they said. Festa used to work there.

Hung Liu and her husband, Chang S. Liu, bought the store three years ago, and have been at work renovating it ever since, she said.

Now that work is complete, it features a spacious dining area with 17 tables and a lunchtime serving area. The restaurant also has a smaller section for take-out customers to place and pick up their orders.

From 11:30 a.m. to 3 p.m., customers can choose among 18 different items at the lunch buffet ($4.95). Chicken and Broccoli, Sesame Chicken and Hot and Sour Soup are just some of the choices typically available.

There are also lunch specials (under $5) served with pork-fried rice or chicken-fried rice and a choice of soup.

From 3 to 10 p.m., dinner is served from the menu, including dishes like Pork or Chicken Egg Foo Young ($5), Sweet and Sour Chicken ($4.50 a pint) or chef specialties like Heaven and Earth ($10,25), a meat dish blended with broccoli, mushrooms, pineapple and snow peas sautéed in a mandarin sauce.

Customers are not limited to the menu though; if they have a combination request they can simply ask for it.

“Whatever you want, I’ll make it for you,” she said.

The restaurant serves many of the common items found in American Chinese restaurants but Liu and company try to add little twists with their own recipes, she said.

For example, unlike many other restaurants, Liu adds milk to her chicken wings to make them juicier. They look like KFC or Kentucky Fried Chicken wings, she said.

Another twist is she likes to put applesauce in the duck sauce, giving it a sweeter taste, she said.

Liu has worked in various Chinese food kitchens throughout her life starting with her father’s small take-out restaurant in Bronx, New York.

Today, her father and mother also regularly help out behind the scenes at Rainbow Town, instructing the chef and training employees, she said.

“I think growing up, I have learned a lot,” Liu said.

Her husband is also no stranger to the business. His father owns a large Chinese buffet restaurant in Ohio, where he and wife worked together for a time. Their experience and knowledge combined allows them to mix both fast food and sit in techniques to create a pleasant dining experience.

The name of the restaurant comes from Liu’s love of rainbows and childhood tales about the phenomena, she said.

Dining hours are from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m.

Monday through Saturday. For more information call (609) 989-0277 or (609) 989-0377.