Last year will be remembered as a year of celebration for one of Lindsay’s favorite eateries.

In 2013 China’s Alley celebrated its 70th year anniversary, re-opened its doors at its original location after a fire destroyed most of the building in 2011, owner Ruben Gonzales held an impromptu car show/toy drive which provided over 300 Christmas toys to local children, and now China’s Alley has won the 2013 Business of the Year award.

Ruben Gonzales had no idea what he was walking into on the night the winners of the 2013 Lindsay Chamber of Commerce awards were announced.

“We all thought we were getting assigned stations at an event the chamber called Love Lindsay. They told us Love Lindsay was a city wide serve project and we would be in charge of teams. They handed out envelope to all the team leaders then called us onto the stage and asked us to open our envelopes. When I opened my envelope it said congratulations you’ve been nominated Business of the Year. It was a really nice surprise.”

This is the first time in the 70 year history of China’s Alley that they have won business of the year.

Ruben has been a part of the Lindsay community for much of his life. After he and his wife took over his grandmother’s restaurant in 1990 he has worked tirelessly to ensure her legacy of great food and friendly service is reflected inside and outside of the restaurant. Ruben always makes an effort to be involved in the city of Lindsay, “Whenever I can I give donations, items for raffle prizes, or volunteer my time to the city of Lindsay I’m more than happy to do it.” Ruben has served as Grand Marshal for Lindsay’s Orange Blossom Festival and is the president of Finest Car Club. On Dec. 13, 2013 Ruben hosted an impromptu car show to ensure that every child in Lindsay received a Christmas gift. Cruzin’ for Lindsay was held at McDermott Field House and benefited Santa Night, held annually by the Lindsay Police Officer Association. Santa Night has grown larger with each year and in 2013 there was a fear that there would not be enough toys to hand out to the children. Ruben saw the need and organized the car show which was able to provide over 300 toys for the annual event.

In a year full of excitement one event in particular still gives Ruben the chills. On May 10, 2013 China’s Alley reopened it’s doors at its original location on Sweet Brier Ave. after a fire destroyed much of the interior of the restaurant, “I still get excited to show people around the place and show them the new renovations we’ve made to China’s. I love to hear them say, ‘wow it looks beautiful.’” Ruben gives all the thank to his grandmother, the original owner of China’s, Nofie Garcia. In 1942 with the help of her doctor Nofie was able to turn her in-home business, making packed lunches for field labors, into a successful restaurant. As a final homage to his grandmother Ruben printed her face on all of the restaurants menus 2000. “She always got a kick out of seeing herself on the menus.” It was her example of hard work that has inspired Ruben to persevere through difficult times.

It’s hard to top the kind of year China’s Alley has had, anniversaries, re-openings, and outstanding public service, but there is no doubt that they will continue to be a pillar of success for the city of Lindsay in 2014. China’s Alley is located at 170 Sweet Brier Ave. in Lindsay.

By Sheyanne Romero

Sun-Gazette

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