Kit Sam, Shen Cafe

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Shen Café, started by the Sam (Shen in Chinese) family in 2013, serves award winning Chinese food with fresh ingredients served in a fast casual atmosphere.  They offer a place to meet up with family and friends for an amazing dining experience at a great price. Kit Sam is the chef and owner of Shen Café.

How did you get started in the business? – I began cooking in China and moved to the United States to further my artistry and recipes.  Since then, I have been working in the Chinese food industry for over 25 years, starting from the bottom up.  With enough knowledge and experience, I decided to start my own restaurant. Thus, my family moved to Nebraska in 2005 to start China Cafe in the small town of Gothenburg.  Since then, we have grown to love Nebraska and the Midwest.  To continue our success in Gothenburg, we decided to share our food and talents with Lincoln by opening Shen Café.

What is the biggest challenge you’ve faced professionally? – The biggest challenge was moving from Los Angeles, CA to Gothenburg, NE to open our first restaurant.  We didn’t know anyone in Nebraska and worked day and night to make the restaurant a success.

What has been your most important achievement professionally? – My greatest achievement so far has been opening Shen Café and having it become an early success.

Tell me a little about your family. – My wife, Lan Trinh, and I are the parents of four children. Annie is our oldest and she is working and going to nursing school in California.  Next is Tom, who is currently helping out at the restaurant and going to school at SCC.  Peter recently graduated and is currently managing the café.  Steven works at the restaurant and goes to school full time at UNL.

What do you see as one of the biggest turning points in your life? – Definitely the move from Los Angeles to Gothenburg.

What is your favorite thing to do on a day off? – Relax with my family or travel when I can.

What is the most unique or interesting thing about you that most people probably don’t know? – I am quite the handyman.  I used to work in construction and usually fix any home or business issues that we have.

What are you the most proud of? – I am the most proud of my children who have grown up to be more than I could have imagined.  They helped me start my business when we needed workers and couldn’t afford to hire anyone.  They have worked so hard and will definitely succeed in this world.

What is the best piece of advice you’ve ever received? – Work hard for anything that you care about and never give up.

If you had a theme song, what would it be? – “Eye of the Tiger” by Survivor

What is your greatest talent that you don’t utilize in your daily work life? – I am a great debater but I don’t really use this talent much in my line of work.

What is your favorite movie? – The Shawshank Redemption

What is your favorite TV show? – The Walking Dead

What is your favorite local restaurant? – Shen Café! Just kidding, Green Gateau is a great restaurant that my family has been going to since the kids started going to UNL.

If our readers would like to contact you, how should they do so? – By phone at (402) 420-0487, by email at shencafenebraska@gmail.com, or visit our website at www.shencafe.com. Or just stop in and see us at 3520 Village Drive!