I recently tried a Chinese restaurant off Redmond Circle and I think y’all should give it a shot if you haven’t been over there. It’s called Golden Crown.

Y’all know I love China City but I’m not afraid of trying new places and new food. There’s always room for more good food in Rome.

Anyhow, back to Golden Crown. It isn’t a new restaurant. It’s been there for a few years and before that it was over on Maple Avenue. I had been to the Maple Avenue location years ago and I remember the owner being very personable and high spirited and very talkative.

Well she hasn’t changed a bit.

Her name is Joanne. She said that many many moons ago when she was a young girl she worked at Tang’s restaurant on Shorter Avenue. Then she opened up her own place, Golden Crown. She’s been serving Romans good Chinese food and good company for a very long time. And her husband is right beside her as the chef.

Here’s why I’d like you to consider visiting Golden Crown.

It’s not just because the food is good or because the restaurant is very clean. It’s not just because our food came out quickly.

You need to go for Joanne. She’s a hoot. When I went, she seemed to be the only one serving. So she was busy. But she still took the time to ask us how we were doing and told me she recognized my face from the newspaper and answered all the questions we had about the restaurant and the food. She was very engaging.

She had to serve several tables but she never let that stop her from being extremely friendly with everyone who walked through the door.

Joanne says she was so scared to move the restaurant from its Maple Street location. It was a necessary move but one that troubled her. Most of her customers were on that side of town. Would they follow her over to Redmond Circle? Would new customers come?

Joanne says they have. She is grateful that people have continued to patronize the restaurant she has built over the years. But I suspect that one of the reasons they keep coming back isn’t just for the wonton soup or the General Tso’s Chicken.

I think people go back for Joanne. I think they like her. I like her. She brings a warmth and friendliness you don’t find everywhere you go. And we’ve got to support that. We’ve got to support good customer service and good Southern hospitality.

It’s great to eat at these big chain restaurants but we can’t forget to patronize our local business owners too.

The only thing I’d change about Golden Crown is that when we were there the radio was playing 90s pop hits. Now I love me some 90s music, but when I’m at a Chinese restaurant I don’t wanna hear Madonna or Britney Spears.

I guess I’m old fashioned but when I go to a Chinese restaurant I want to hear one of two things. I either wanna hear that authentic Chinese instrumental music OR I wanna hear mediocre Chinese covers of Celine Dion songs. I know it sounds crazy but having actual Chinese music playing at a Chinese restaurant really helps the ambiance for me.

But like I said, that’s my only complaint. The food was good, the prices were very reasonable and the place was clean, which I know is very important to some of y’all. As long as the food is good I don’t really worry about the health score and I haven’t died yet. But many of y’all do care about a restaurant’s cleanliness and Golden Crown appeared to be very clean.

Go say hi to Joanne. I get the feeling she’s had to work hard most of her life, but despite that she’s always got a great smile on her face. That’s something that makes a big difference to customers.

Joanne’s the kind of person I hope visitors to Rome get to meet. I love it when visitors get to interact with our most friendly residents. I love it when they get to interact with the people who are warm and welcoming. And I especially love it when visitors get to meet our local characters. Joanne is certainly a character. She’s someone folks don’t forget easily.

So head on over to Golden Crown if you haven’t already. I hope you get to talk to Joanne. She’s one of Rome’s hidden gems.

Severo Avila is Features Editor

for the Rome News-Tribune.