The manager of a Wrexham restaurant who tantalised the taste-buds of Hollyoaks stars saw so much potential in the business he decided to buy it for himself.
Now Jason Sheehan, 33, is looking to develop The Real China, the popular Chinese buffet-style eatery at the Eagles Meadow shopping centre, and is hoping to take on more staff.
Jason believes the restaurant, which offers a mouth-watering selection of Asian delicacies and traditional Chinese dishes, will become one of North Wales’ top oriental restaurants.
In the past the father-of-two has rubbed shoulders with the likes of Sarah George, and Twinnie-Lee Moore, who play the McQueen sisters in the hit Channel 4 show.
The ex Maelor School pupil previously ran the Fiesta Havana cocktail restaurant in Chester, a favourite haunt of the Hollyoaks duo.
Jason said: “I took over as manager of The Real China towards the end of last year and could see straight away how much potential there is in terms of what the restaurant can offer in what is a prime Eagles Meadow location.
“I have a lot of experience having run the Robin Hood Hotel in Helsby and Fiesta Havana in Chester as well as Alexander’s Jazz Bar. It’s going to be hard work and it’s only early days but I have no doubt that I have made the right decision.”
Jason’s career in catering began when he studies business and catering at Yale College (now Coleg Cambria), earning himself a clutch of NVQs.
A black belt second dan in Shotokan karate, he is also a champion fighter, and has won the mixed martial arts (MMA) North Wales Open Championships.
His sights are now firmly set on expanding the business at Real China by offering a service to corporate customers.
He said: “I have kept on our excellent Chinese chefs and employ around 10 other workers on a full or part-time basis. I’m hoping I can take on more staff and be able to offer job opportunities to more Wrexham people in the near future.
“My idea is to offer an outside catering option where we will attend business or corporate functions and possibly even Asian-themed weddings. I just think there is so much we can do and I can only seeing us getting busier.
“I intend to adopt a new dimension to the menu so we offer something very different but I believe the buffet-style food we serve as our main staple is incredibly popular and is the right way to go so we are going to retain that.”
He added: “It’s certainly exciting times and I’m absolutely certain I have done the right thing.
“The two previous owners had other business interests and spent very little time here so as I was doing just about everything anyway so I thought the best way was buy the business and work for myself. I’m glad I did.”
Eagles Meadow Shopping Centre manager Kevin Critchley said: “I am delighted Jason had the confidence in the business and could see its potential.
“The Real China Restaurant has been a popular addition to what we offer at Eagles Meadow and I know it is always busy whether at lunch time or in the evening.
“I’m sure the restaurant will thrive with Jason at the helm and will continue to attract new customers.
“I wish him all the best in his new venture and I’m sure Wrexham people will be delighted to see the business taken over by someone who hails from the town.”