The first clue that Berkeley’s family-run Great China is quite unlike any other mom-and-pop Chinese restaurant comes when you pull up to the front door.
Even on a Sunday evening at 4:30 p.m., you’re likely to find a line of about 30 people, waiting patiently for the doors to open a half hour later.
Once you step inside, you get your next clue. The restaurant may carry a moniker of generations past, but its interior is all clean-lines contemporary with concrete floors, exposed ducts, a waterfall-edged wood bar countertop, polished wood tables, pendant lights and oversized abstract canvases on the walls.
The restaurant was established in 1985 by Mike and Jenny Yu. It is now run by their sons, James and Tai, the latter who designed the restaurant space after a catastrophic fire destroyed the original location a few blocks away in 2012.