Cheng Zheng and his wife Helen Lin, owners of Zheng’s Buffet in Wayne Plaza on Bluffton Road are a long way from home. They come to Waynedale from Foo Chow, China. Foo Chow is in southeast China, a little north of Hong Kong.
Marco Polo is supposed to have passed through Foo Chow at the end of the 13th century. He described it as a great center of international commerce with special links to the Indian trade, prosperous, with great gardens and an abundance of fruit.
While in China, Zheng went to Meishi University and studied the Culinary Arts. He took a job at a large hotel that catered to foreign guests. Zheng honed his restaurant skills and with the support of a Foo Chow Association, and his friends and family, he immigrated to the United States. Zheng worked for a while in Peoria, Illinois, as well as the New China Buffet in Lawrenceburg, Indiana in 1994.
Zheng met Helen Lin while in the United States and they were married in New York City in 1999. They have two children, Jenny and Jason. Jenny attends Maplewood Elementary School. Zheng managed the China Buffet located in Rushville, Indiana in 2001.
In 2004, Zheng, along with his wife Helen Lin came to southwest Fort Wayne and opened Zheng’s Buffet here in Waynedale.
“What is the biggest difference between China and the U.S?” I asked.
Zheng spoke through his business manager Angela Beyer. (He is learning English but Angela was there to smooth over the rough spots as an interpreter.) “China is much more conservative and the U.S. is much more wide open,” he said.
Zheng uses his skill and knowledge to offer his food service talents to people from all over Fort Wayne. His two brothers, a sister, and both parents still live in China. He said he would like to go back to visit someday, but not until he gets his business established. He stays in contact with his family through the Internet and is adjusting to our country’s environment.
Zheng’s Buffet is sparkling clean with five different buffet bars. Guests may choose from the menu or order the buffet. They have dine-in or carryout available and are open 7 days a week. They have a free party room and they specialize in both Chinese and Japanese food.
Next time you’re out for Chinese be sure to say ‘hi’ to Cheng Zheng and his wife Helen Lin, next to the Gabriel Station Post Office in Wayne Plaza.
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