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Monday, October 4, 2010

Mission Chinese Food Wants To Buy a Dragon ― With Your Help

Posted By on Mon, Oct 4, 2010 at 2:42 PM

Anthony's dragon: The nearly 6-foot costume the owner of Mission Chinese Food wants to use as a chandelier. - MISSION CHINESE FOOD
  • Mission Chinese Food
  • Anthony's dragon: The nearly 6-foot costume the owner of Mission Chinese Food wants to use as a chandelier.
Say what you want about Lung Shan, pretty it's not. Still, the home, first of Mission Street Food, now of Mission Chinese Food, has pretty much defined the scuffed-up urban Chinese café: acoustic ceiling panels, steel-frame chairs that don't look nearly as cool as that sounds, and walls papered in ripply posters.

All that's changing ― sort of. Mission Chinese Food's Anthony Myint has been busy giving Lung Shan a makeover that aims to brighten up the place without going totally Betelnut. Lung Shan's walls wear a new veneer of blond wood-grain wallpaper, and the posters ― which Myint says owners Sue and Liang Zhou put up in part to mask water damage to the walls ― are staying, though they're now framed with reclaimed wood. The room's focal point: a nearly 60-foot-long Chinese dragon New Year's costume, snaking along the ceiling, to serve as chandelier. To pay for it, Myint's turning to a familiar resource: the community microlending site He wants to raise $2,750 by Oct. 19 (backers have pledged $560 so far).

Is it frivolous to seek community funds for restaurant décor? "We've run some numbers and we believe that if we can acquire this piece of decor, we can attract more customers and make more money for charity," reads MCF's Kickstarter page. "Since July we've already raised over $6,000 for the SF Food Bank."

Today on the MCF blog, Myint added a further rationalization: urban improvement. "Like Christo's The Gates in Central Park, this dragon can be a memorable gesture that enriches the texure of a city. Well okay a city block, but without using 10 million pounds of steel, 1 million square feet of nylon and 900 workers. As we approach the goal, I can't help but feel a sense of excitement for the tangible evidence of community building―sort of an urban barn-raising in the age of Twitter." Besides, Myint writes, "how often do you get a chance to buy a dragon?"

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