Public News (Houston) - - FRONT PAGE - by Matt Ver­non

Lina Wang owns and op­er­ates The Run­away Plate and Cast Iron South­ern Grill Both of Lina Wang’s orig­i­nal con­cepts can be lo­cated 28533 Spring Trails Ridge.

The Run­away Plate menu is avail­able through the drive through and is healthy, de­li­cious home-made dishes served in a quick fash­ion. It is great food for peo­ple on the go to pick up for fam­i­lies or af­ter a long day. Cast Iron Grill is a beau­ti­ful de­signed, quaint in­side din­ing room with a full bar and fun con­tem­po­rary dishes like Korean Beef Tacos, sal­ads and sand­wiches, all hand crafted in house.

Lina Wang was born in Malaysia and loves trav­el­ing. She’s been in over 30 coun­tries and has taken a cook­ing class in ev­ery one of them. She’s loved to cook ever since she was 6 years old.

She learned how to make pan­cakes from scratch and loved cook­ing for other peo­ple at a young age. She says her par­ents prob­a­bly got tired of her cook­ing pan­cakes ev­ery weekend.

When she was young she wanted to fol­low her pas­sion and go to cook­ing school, but was en­cour­aged to pur­sue an­other course. She grad­u­ated with a Busi­ness de­gree from the Univer­sity of Leth­bridge in Al­berta, Canada. She joined the cor­po­rate world do­ing sales and re­cruit­ment for large companies. She met and mar­ried her hus­band, Ryan in Canada. He worked in oil and gas and 10 years ago, his work brought him and Lina to Hous­ton.

Dur­ing col­lege, she worked at var­i­ous restau­rants and dur­ing her ca­reer she en­joyed tak­ing bak­ing and cake dec­o­rat­ing classes. She loved learn­ing about food, and how to make qual­ity, healthy food tastes great.

Lina be­lieves in eat­ing well. She says af­ter a long day of work she’d cook a fresh home-made din­ner. 15 years ago she had a vi­sion of a quick ser­vice res­tau­rant that spe­cial­ized in scratch made healthy din­ners in­stead of pro­cessed foods. She says she did not see that in Malaysia, Aus­tralia, Canada or any coun­tries they vis­ited. Seven years ago, she de­cided to turn her dream into re­al­ity. She came up with a busi­ness plan and tried get­ting a bank loan and find­ing a real­tor. She knew she wanted to be in the Ray­ford/Ri­ley Fuzzel area, but had dif­fi­culty find­ing a real­tor to take her se­ri­ously be­cause she was a woman. She couldn’t get a loan be­cause she had no prior res­tau­rant owner ex­pe­ri­ence. It took her four years and she wound up hav­ing to in­vest her sav­ings to buy her prop­erty in the end. She be­lieved so much in her dream!

She de­signed ev­ery facet or her res­tau­rant her­self from her state of the art drive through with 4 big screen TV’s to show­case her daily menu to her quaint din­ing room and pa­tio. She says open­ing a res­tau­rant isn’t easy and ex­plained how, be­fore open­ing some neigh­bor­hood kids came by and stole her sign, and her lead cook was in­ten­tion­ally burn­ing dishes.

The res­tau­rant started as Run­away plate over two years ago to be able to of­fer a fast food en­vi­ron­ment, but with real hand-made food, not laden with chem­i­cals or GMO’s. Some­thing I have per­son­ally never seen be­fore, but ab­so­lutely love the con­cept. But then, Lina de­cided to in­no­vate and get re­ally cre­ative and de­cided to run two dif­fer­ent con­cepts out of the same busi­ness. Again, some­thing I have never seen be­fore. Her ser­vice is in­cred­i­ble, her pas­sion for food in­spired and her cre­ative menu is amaz­ing!

Lina spent months re­design­ing her din­ing room to ac­com­mo­date the new con­cept. She im­proved her bar, light­ing and did a com­plete re­model to match the vi­sion she had for Cast Iron South­ern Grill. She hired con­trac­tors, spent her own money, de­signed a mod­ern café with a South­ern flair. Ev­ery­thing looked beau­ti­ful. Then Har­vey came to town and brought a foot of wa­ter into her res­tau­rant, de­stroy­ing ev­ery­thing she worked so hard for. Well, not only is Lina in­ven­tive and pas­sion­ate about food, she is also de­ter­mined and loved by her sup­port­ers.

Af­ter the flood waters re­ceded, Lina and her friends went right to work re­build­ing Cast Iron South­ern Grill and The Run­away Plate and now they are back and bet­ter than ever.

Peo­ple like dif­fer­ent cui­sine and that’s what she en­joys cook­ing. Her menu changes daily and she can cook Greek, Ital­ian, Thai and Korean with pre­cise ex­e­cu­tion us­ing all scratch-made in­gre­di­ents. The Run­away Plate is an orig­i­nal con­cept that de­liv­ers (lit­er­ally) hot, whole­some meals that are ac­ces­si­ble to ev­ery­one in a fast food set­ting. Their re­views are ex­cep­tional, al­most 5 stars across the board and Lina is an in­cred­i­ble lady with a vi­sion try­ing to live out The Amer­i­can Dream! You can find her daily menu on her web­site, therun­away­plate. com. Eat healthy. Eat well. Sup­port lo­cal!

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