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Gift Suggestion for Restaurant Owner

A small, independently-owned Asian restaurant that my husband and I have been going to quite regularly over the past 6-7 years is closing. I can't say I'm surprised, based on the number of customers we've seen there on our frequent visits, but I am disappointed. In my opinion, the closing is far more reflective of a chain-food mentality than the quality of their food and service. The restaurant is in a largely touristy location, surrounded by every chain restaurant imaginable.

Over the years, we've gotten to know the owner and hostess quite well. We'll be seeing them for the last time this week and I'd like to bring them each a small gift as a token of our appreciation for so many enjoyable dinners. I should mention that neither of them drinks, so a gift of wine or something similar won't work. Can anyone help me with gift suggestions? Thanks!

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  1. Something that is not food related, at least for the owner. If you know their heritage, a better coffee table book with nice photos of their home countries might be nice.

    1 Reply
    1. re: ocshooter

      A bottle of imported sparkling fruit juice, a travel coffee or tea mug for the car, some lovely small guest soaps, a scarf, some patio candles, a small plant? Just know that whatever you choose, your kindness will be very much appreciated.

    2. Show or concert tickets? Or a gift certificate for something they wouldn't expect; for example, Penzey's. A couple of beautiful painted tea or coffee mugs would be lovely as well.

      1. A really excellent quality tea, instead of wine?

        1. A really heartfelt card is always appreciated.

          1. Since they are losing the business, this occasion is more of a wake than a christening. Perhaps a floral arrangement that they can enjoy at home? I like Mamachef's Penzey's suggestion, or some other gift certificate, even from a local supermarket chain. They may very well be financially strapped. And yes, do include a nice card with a handwritten note.

            1. Do you make jam or pickles or something that keeps (as opposed to cookies)? i'd go with something like that to express the sentiment that they've fed you well over the years and you hope to return the favor.

              1. I agree with the suggestion of a card and a small plant or flower.

                1. Dragons, the color red, jade and giving gifts in pairs are all considered good luck in the Chinese culture. Perhaps you can find a small dragon in jade or a nice print, that can grace their home, and always remind them of you.

                  1. Thanks so much to all of you. There are some really great suggestions here. I'm going out shopping tomorrow. I'll let you know what I find.

                    2 Replies
                    1. re: CindyJ

                      Before you hit the malls, try letting your fingers do the walking at www.etsy.com. Search under dragons. Etsy has hand-crafted items, many one-of-a-kind, at all price points. It's the first place I look when I need a unique gift. Perhaps you can find a tie tack and a pin, or earrings.

                      1. re: greygarious

                        I'd do that if I had the time, but we'll be going to the restaurant tonight for our final visit. FWIW, I'm not a mall shopper -- there are a couple of very nice gift shops nearby, one at Longwood Gardens and another at Winterthur. I'm sure one of those places will have JUST what I'm looking for.

                    2. Maybe I'm jaded (no pun intended), but if I was Asian and someone gave me tea or a dragon, I'd be a little offended. Give the person something that represents you, not what you think they might like based on their ethnicity. I remember I worked with a black guy at a camp. The parents gave three other counselors money and gave them a DVD of a movie about basketball. It was horrifying. Racism without meaning it.

                      1. If the restaurant is closing, if they had their druthers, they probably would not wish for a coffee/tea mug, flowers, jade, a book, or something else that just sits around. They probably need money. I'd give them a gift card of some sort.

                        2 Replies
                        1. re: John E.

                          Actually, that's sort of what I ended up with. I gave them each a gift card for the local movie theater. I figured it had been a long time since either had taken any time off from work, and that now there would be time for a movie with the family.

                          1. re: CindyJ

                            That was a great idea. Now if there were more movies actually worth attending.