"Sometimes, when we got off work, we would go there because it was the only place open late," Kathy said.
At that time, Grand House was serving the Westernized Chinese fare still common on buffets across the country.
When the spacious building became available after the pancake house's demise in 1994, the Tiens jumped at the opportunity to grow in space and cuisine.
"We want to represent all the Asian cultures that live here," Thai said.
That's when they went from Chinese restaurant to China bistro. A menu once populated by kung paos, chop sueys and fried rices has added Vietnamese noodle bowls, Peking duck, sushi and pad Thai plus a second menu of traditional Chinese preparations.
And one would be hard-pressed to find any remaining signs that flapjacks were ever flipped in what is now an elegant, upscale restaurant with live fish tanks, original glass sculpture, avant-garde light fixtures and a dance floor to accompany the jazz trio that plays each Friday night.
Dim sum allows not only a leisurely dining experience but also a chance to taste something truly authentic whether in dumpling form, in a small steam basket or in a bun. For those looking to stretch their palates, try the fried chicken feet. The meat is akin to that you'll find in wings, but with a little more effort and, um, crunch. (Don't be afraid to spit out the tiny bones!)
But if you don't have a fetish about consuming the feet of any creature, less "Fear Factor"-worthy dishes abound: shrimp, cabbage dumplings, spare ribs, barbecue pork buns, creamy steamed buns, steamed oysters, roasted duck, roasted chicken, fried oysters, honey roasted pork, crispy roasted pork, hot and spicy shrimp, lobster dumplings, sticky rice wrapped in lotus leaf, scallop dumplings and pot stickers.
Grand House also has a well-stocked dessert case at the front of the restaurant featuring mouse-shaped cakes, tiramisu, cheesecake and fried banana rolls.
No wonder this is one of the most popular ways of eating in southern China. And seeing how Oklahoma City's Asian district is one of the most vibrant in the country, it's no surprise that Grand House and Fung's Kitchen are able to offer it locally.
"We only do it Saturday and Sunday here because we don't have enough demand yet," Kathy said.
I blame the sneeze-guard lobby.
11 a.m. to 10 p.m. Monday to Thursday
11 a.m. to 11 p.m. Friday
9 a.m. to 11 p.m. Saturday
9 a.m. to 9 p.m. Sunday