Restaurant features VIP room for NBA players

Updated: February 20, 2005, 6:35 PM ET
Associated Press

HOUSTON -- Yao Ming is a big fan of his mother's cooking.

Everyone else will be able to try it out on Monday when Yao's parents open the Yao Restaurant and Bar on the west side of Houston.

Houston's thriving Chinatown is about three miles away.

Yao's restaurant is a $1.5 million venture that combines Chinese food with a sports bar. It is owned by Yao's father, Yao Zhiyuan, and mother, Fang Feng Di, both former members of China's national teams.

The restaurant employs a chef, but it will feature some of his mother's home-cooked specialties, including Yao's favorite, chicken soup with shiitake mushrooms.

Three 70-inch televisions are located in the bar so fans can watch Yao play and pictures of the Houston Rockets' center cover the walls.

Yao, 24, a native of Shanghai, China, is in his third season with the Rockets. The All-Star center is not directly involved with the restaurant, but his parents did include special accommodations for his 7-foot-6 frame.

Chairs in a special VIP room are built to fit NBA players and the doors are 10-feet high so tall customers won't have to duck.

Copyright 2005 by The Associated Press