Menton alum Jason Doo is on the verge of opening an American Chinese restaurant and tiki bar in Cambridge, and it’s something he and his business partner — Thomas Brush of Felipe’s Taqueria — have been planning for some time now. Wusong Road is set to open in mid-November 2021 at 112 Mt. Auburn St. in Harvard Square, inside the Conductor’s Building, a unique, skinny space that was formerly home to Les Sablons. (Wusong Road is a reference to the first railroad built within China, a narrow-gauge passenger railway that ran in Shanghai between 1876 and 1877. The Conductor’s Building is the only building still standing from the original construction of the Cambridge subway, which commenced in 1912.)
Wusong Road will span two floors, with space for 164 diners. The first floor will feature roasted duck, which will be cooked inside the restaurant’s brick oven, custom-made specifically for roasting ducks. The oven was designed in Beijing and built by Beech Ovens, “who normally do those fancy pizza ovens,” Doo tells Eater.
The ducks will come from the Jurgielewicz duck farm in Shartlesville, Pennsylvania, which Doo says is the last farm in the Unites States that has “an unaltered breeding stock from the original Peking ducks smuggled into the [country] from China by James E. Palmer in the late 1800s.” Still, Doo is quick to point out that Wusong Road won’t be serving Peking duck, exactly: “Peking duck has to be cooked over hard fruit wood,” he says, such as plum.
A key element of the forthcoming restaurant is that it is meant to be affordable. “After working in fine dining for so many years, we wanted to open a restaurant where everyone can eat, and not just a select few,” says Doo. As such, he says a Hong Kong-style barbecue rice plate (char siu or soy sauce chicken, for example) will cost about $9.
Doo describes the second floor as a “100-seat American Chinese-style restaurant with heavy tropical escapism decor that has been heavily influenced by the Chinese Dai people.” He says that a number of local artists have been designing tiki-inspired mugs, producing intricate carvings, painting murals, and installing thatched roofs. The second floor’s aesthetic will be tied together by a number of artifacts Doo has collected while backpacking through Asia, as well as by family heirlooms and antiques brought over from China.
Doo grew up in Cambridge, and his family owned a Chinese restaurant in Malden. He worked at the restaurant growing up and says that his new restaurant is “essentially a love story of American Chinese restaurants.”
Targeting a mid-November opening, the team is currently finalizing the food and drinks menus and waiting for the completion of some custom furniture. (The pandemic has created a shortage of both wood and truck drivers, explains Doo.) Soon, though, Harvard Square will have a new American Chinese restaurant full of roasted duck and tiki drinks. Follow the progress on Instagram.