Ling & Louie’s Asian Grill and Bar has been a staple in the Scottsdale restaurant community for over 13 years. Not only is the cuisine just absolutely delicious, but the owner’s John Banquil and Miriam Malak, are some of the kindest individuals I have met in this industry. You rarely see owners of a restaurant physically in the kitchen whipping up some dishes and ensuring customers have a great experience.
John sat down with me for an interview about their 13-year legacy, which was hard because I was stuffing my face with their mouthwatering dishes. But I did my best!
Tell me a bit of your previous history as a restauranteur and experience in the restaurant industry:
I’ve been working in restaurants since I was 16 years old. I started as a host and worked my way up to busser, server and became a manager when I turned 19. At that time, I was a student at ASU, working towards a degree in business management.
When I landed the management job, I put all of my efforts into this and let college go by the wayside as I was doing what I wanted to do for my career. I worked for a couple of other companies as a General Manager before joining Ling & Louie’s Asian Bar and Grill in 2008.
From there, I moved my way up in the company to Regional General Manager, then Director of Brand Development. In 2019, I had the opportunity to take over the Ling & Louie’s brand, as the founder was looking to retire. The rest is history!
How did the concept of Ling & Louie’s come together? How long have you been open?
Ling & Louie’s was the brainchild of Randy Schoch, a veteran restaurateur who made his name in Hawaii. Learning how Asian and American influences melded so well together in Hawaii, he wanted to create a restaurant concept that embraced modern Asian cuisine with American hospitality. Thus, Ling & Louie’s was opened in 2008. Ling and Louie are fictional characters meant to symbolize the marriage of East and West cultures that our restaurant does so well.
How would you describe Ling & Louie’s to someone who has never been there before?
We describe Ling & Louie’s as “Modern Asian Cuisine with American Flair.” We use traditional Asian ingredients in non-traditional ways to create bold, crave-able flavors that redefine what Asian restaurants are expected.
Yes, it is. Our Corporate Executive Chef, Greg Smith, has worked hard to engineer a primarily gluten-free menu and – just as important – delicious. We use some ingredients that are not gluten-free, but we work hard to prevent cross-contamination so that guests who need to eat gluten-free can do so safely at our restaurants.
In fact, here is a complete breakdown of their gluten-free options:
- Dinner menu entrees – 84% GF or GM
- Dinner entrees and apps – 73% GF or GM
- Full lunch menu – 81% GF or GM
- Happy Hour menu – 69% GF or GM
- Weekend Brunch – 77% GF or GM
What’s super fun at Ling & Louie’s now is their “Summer Vacation for Your Tastebuds Passport,” which ends on August 31. Ling and Louie’s will offer a special menu of internationally inspired items that will whisk people away to exotic countries throughout Asia!
Guest will be encouraged to sample all of the menu items over this limited time offer by being given a “Passport.” As guests try each dish on the menu, they will receive a stamp on their “Passport.”
The best part – after a guest has tried half (6) of the items, they will receive a $10 certificate. After trying all 12 items, the guest will receive a $25 certificate for their next visit!
All guests will be encouraged to share their “Vacations” on Instagram using the hashtag #LingsSummer. Each week a winner will be chosen by the Social Media management company, and each winner will receive a $50 gift card!
Guests will be able to enjoy special menu items and be transported, for example, to Korea with the Gluten-Free Seoul Bowl – chicken, shrimp, broccoli, red bell peppers, snap peas, gochujang chili sauce with a sunny-side-up egg. Another delectable appetizer from China is the Banh Mi Sliders – pork tenderloin, cucumber salad, jalapeno, and cilantro.
In addition to unique dishes, guests can enjoy exotic cocktails such as their Thai Gin + Tonic, the Forbidden Dragon, a tropical take on the Mojito, or my favorite, the Lemon Grass Vanilla Mule. I love me a good Moscow mule, but to infuse vanilla liqueur into the beverage is to die for!
You must also try the Dan Dan Noodles for a little bit of spice, or the Shaking Beef was my personal favorite! I have yet to have such tender beef at an Asian restaurant here in the Valley. I just could not put it down!
BUT, the pièce de résistance is the Weekend Blitz Brunch. I wasn’t aware that an Asian restaurant would bother with a brunch menu. But Ling & Louie’s takes brunch to the next level. The “Louie’s Hangover Fried Rice” was so delicious and perfect for my hangover (which I actually didn’t have because I only drink responsibly, hehe). The chopped vegetables, pineapple, blackened chicken, shrimp, candied bacon, and a sunny-side-up egg are perfect and delicious.
I will certainly be back to try the “Blackened Chicken + Pork Hash” or the “Not Boring Burrito.”
In this new post-pandemic world, it is so increasingly important to support local restaurant owners. John Banquil and Miriam Malak are two of the kindest and hardest working restauranteurs I have seen in quite a while. Plus, they literally live right down the street from their Scottsdale location. If you’re looking for some delicious and innovative Asian cuisine in the Valley, you must head over and support Ling & Louie’s Asian Bar and Grill!
I guarantee you will not leave disappointed during lunch, dinner, or brunch! Thanks again, John Banquil and Miriam Malak, for your time. I will be back soon.
For more information on Ling & Louie’s Asian Bar and Grill, visit https://www.lingandlouies.com/.