KENNETT SQUARE — Lily Asian Cuisine continues to thrive in the borough despite all odds.
Suki Li and her husband, Tony Liu, opened Lily Asian Cuisine at 104 W. State St. in 2011. The couple moved to America 25 years ago, she said, to pursue the American Dream.
Upon visiting Longwood Gardens and visiting the Borough of Kennett Square, Li said, “We walked around and fell in love with the town.”
That’s when they decided, she recalled, an inspirational moment when the pair decided they wanted to bring some Asian cuisine to the community.
In the wake of multiple orders by the governor to shut down indoor dining restaurant services in Pennsylvania since the pandemic began in March, the business has survived thanks to takeout orders and continuous local support.
“During the shutdown, we struggled at first like everyone,” Li said. With enhanced safety measures now in place, Li said the business manages its operations knowing that the safety of staff and customers is paramount.
“We offer online ordering through our website to minimize contact. We also have curbside pickup and delivery options available through DoorDash, GrubHub and Uber eats.”
Li said some of the most popular dishes of patrons include Lily’s bluefin tuna, Zumba and Habachi meals.
“We buy at the local Amish market especially,” Li said. “Everything we use is organic or fresh. We cook our foods with the healthiest oils and spices.”
The dishes feature low sodium, sparse oil and fresh ingredients, she said.
“We understand that the shutdown was needed to prevent more COVID cases, although it’s hurting us and every business out there financially,” Li said. “We do what we can to continue our business.”
Offering patrons takeout this holiday season is helping her family keep the business running, Li said.
“We love doing takeout,” she said on Dec. 23. “We try to encourage this. It’s safer for both our employees and customers.”
Lily Asian Cuisine employs typically up to 20 people. Instead of laying off staff, Li and Liu reduced hours and shifts to help keep everyone employed over the holidays.
“We wanted to make sure everyone had at least some sort of income and weren’t fully unemployed especially since unemployment got cut back,” she said.
Li expressed gratitude for the borough and Lily Asian Cuisine’s longstanding patrons.
“We have a great community in Kennett Square,” Li said. “They have been supporting us very well during COVID by ordering takeout and then returning this past summer when we could be open inside again at minimum capacity.”
Kennett Square transformed a few parking spaces into a new outdoor eating area for businesses on State Street without outdoor dining space already in place prior to the pandemic. Li said this was a great way for Lily Asian Cuisine to serve patrons this past summer.
“We would like to thank Historic Kennett Square for finding ways for small businesses in town to get more business,” Li said.
“We know everyone in the restaurant business is going through a really hard time right now whether it’s just with the business not doing so well or having to lay-off most of their employees,” Li said.
“We hope that COVID is over soon so we can all go back to living somewhat of a regular life and so that everyone who doesn’t have a job can become employed again,” Li said. “Our waitresses currently have little job opportunities."
Li added, "We try to help them as much as we can.”