Q&A: EverSpring Modern Chinese with Chef and Owner Toby Zhang

EverSpring Modern Chinese joins The Market Place as the newest quick-service gem to hit Irvine. Toby Zhang, owner and manager, discusses the inspiration behind the restaurant, his dedication to high-quality Chinese fare, and the importance of a positive guest experience. 

Q. What is your inspiration for the food and restaurant? 

A. Hospitality is at the core of what we do. Growing up, I loved cooking and learning from my grandmother, who is a fantastic cook, but my inspiration is creating the ultimate guest experience on the front end. I was invited to spend a week observing a restaurant kitchen, and it turned into months of training and falling in love with the recipes and culinary techniques.

Q. How was the concept for EverSpring Modern Chinese created?

A. This restaurant is a venture of several families coming together. Our sister restaurant, China Mama in Las Vegas, wanted to bring a quick-service concept to Irvine that offers authentic Chinese recipes in an approachable environment. Everything is made to order, and we craft our recipes using fresh ingredients. We also have unique elements to the restaurant that help make the experience more enjoyable. 

Q. How is EverSpring Modern Chinese progressing toward modernity while still honoring tradition? 

A. We use spinning woks that automate the stir-fry process, and we have robots that deliver your food to you. These things help increase our service efficiency, but they also get people talking. Families often take pictures of the robots because they think they’re cool. It’s our belief that we can combine the advancement of human technology with timeless home recipes to present a tasty meal and a fun experience. We want to redirect the way people view Chinese food: fast can also be fresh and healthy.

Q. What is the most important part of the guest experience in your opinion?

A. Our goal is always to exceed the guests’ expectations when they come in. From the taste of the food to the vibe of the restaurant, there’s a little bit of everything for everyone to like. It’s easy for guests to find menu items they’re familiar with and menu items that may be new to them.

Q. What are your menu favorites? 

A. The crispy beef came from China Mama and is something we’re really proud of. Definitely a crowd favorite. I love the egg yolk sesame balls for dessert. It’s a spin on traditional red bean sesame balls that is unique to EverSpring.