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A popular Chinese restaurant in west Fort Worth is under new ownership after 45 years

Szechuan Restaurant, a west Fort Worth landmark that once served as the city’s best Chinese cuisine, has changed hands after 45 years, according to an application for a city alcohol license.

Cynthia Quintana Pena has applied for a new permit at the same location, 5712 Locke Ave., continuing as Szechuan.

The restaurant remains open daily. Pena said at a busy dinner party on Sunday that she wasn’t ready to talk about the change.

Szechuan has been run by employees led by Shuoh “Paul” Cheng in recent months since the retirement five years ago of his late uncle, co-founder Herman Liu.

Tung Ting duck and Sichuan beef served with steamed rice at Szechuan Restaurant, July 29, 2005.Tung Ting duck and Sichuan beef served with steamed rice at Szechuan Restaurant, July 29, 2005.

Tung Ting duck and Sichuan beef served with steamed rice at Szechuan Restaurant, July 29, 2005.

The restaurant is littered with photos of famous guests from the late 20th century, such as politicians, participants in the Miss Texas Scholarship Pageant, pianists from the Van Cliburn International Piano Competition and actors performing in Casa Mañana Musicals.

In recent years, more elegant Chinese and Pan-Asian restaurants have opened in the suburbs, and the new Teddy Wong’s Dumplings & Wine is Fort Worth’s current favorite.

But the original Szechuan location is still a popular favorite for spicy Sichuan-style dishes such as garlic chicken, spicy green beans, shrimp with hot ginger sauce, and shredded beef with hot peppers.

The 'Happy Family' combination dinner of shrimp, scallops, beef, chicken, pork, broccoli, snow peas, red pepper and mushrooms at Szechuan Restaurant, along with a plate of shrimp, seen on February 27, 2001.The 'Happy Family' combination dinner of shrimp, scallops, beef, chicken, pork, broccoli, snow peas, red pepper and mushrooms at Szechuan Restaurant, along with a plate of shrimp, seen on February 27, 2001.

The ‘Happy Family’ combination dinner of shrimp, scallops, beef, chicken, pork, broccoli, snow peas, red pepper and mushrooms at Szechuan Restaurant, along with a plate of shrimp, seen on February 27, 2001.

The restaurant is also known for its cheap lunches and popular Chinese-American dishes such as sesame chicken, the No. 1 order and orange chicken.

Chinese restaurants in Fort Worth date back to the early 20th century, but served mainly milder Cantonese and Mandarin dishes until 1977.

At that time, Liu moved to Fort Worth from China and Taiwan via Washington DC and opened Hunan Chinese Restaurant on South Hulen Street.

On May 21, 1979, Liu and Henry Chang opened Szechuan, replacing a Cajun restaurant in the Locke-Blocke shopping center on Camp Bowie Boulevard at Horne Street.

Chef Lee Tsao was Liu’s friend from one of the highest-rated Chinese restaurants in Washington DC, the Empress.

Sichuan food is “characteristically hot and spicy,” the Star-Telegram explains.

Late co-founder Herman Liu, seen on February 11, 2002, retired in 2019 after 40 years at Szechuan RestaurantLate co-founder Herman Liu, seen on February 11, 2002, retired in 2019 after 40 years at Szechuan Restaurant

Late co-founder Herman Liu, seen on February 11, 2002, retired in 2019 after 40 years at Szechuan Restaurant

“. . . Many of our customers who like Mexican food enjoy the dishes, Liu said.

A location in Cityview Center, 4750 Bryant Irvin Road, opened in 1981 but was sold years ago to another restaurateur. A Hurst location opened in Mayfair Village in 1983 and closed around 2005.

Szechuan is open daily for lunch and dinner; 817-738-7300szechuanrestauranttexas.com.