By Patrice Smith
At the tender age of 23, Angela Baby owns one of the largest restaurants in the Lowcountry. The U.S. & Asian Buffet on Ashley Phosphate Road (near Dorchester Road) opened the day after Thanksgiving and Angela is straight business.
“All my friends just want to hang out and have fun. But I’m working toward my future. I feel a lot older than 23,” Baby says.
Angela Baby is what her Chinese name translates to in English. Her actual name is Rachen Khado. Khado is from Tibet and moved to the United States when she was 13.
“It was so different in Connecticut and it changed me a lot. I couldn’t speak any English,” Khado says.
She entered the American school as a freshman and remembers missing her classes because she couldn’t understand her schedule.
“I’d go to my history class but should be in my math class. High school was real hard.”
Baby says her English teacher saw her struggling and took her aside and gave her English lessons after school.
Baby made it through high school and her parents wanted her to go to college.
“I knew college would be really hard because of my limited English so I went to work at my godfather’s restaurant in Virginia Beach.”
“I taught her the business and she was a quick study and learned the restaurant business really fast,” says Tony Jiang, Baby’s godfather.
Jiang is a chef and restaurateur and has 10 restaurants in several cities across the U.S., including an ice cream shop in downtown Charleston on King Street. He gave Angela this newest restaurant which she named the U.S. & Asian Buffet.
“We have Chinese, Japanese (sushi), Korean, Indonesian and America dishes. We have over 250 items on our menu,” Baby says.
And the food is absolutely delicious ranging from fried calamari and crabs to spare ribs to oysters on the half shell. There are also Asian peaches, the best cream puffs ever, sugared peanuts and a host of traditional Asian fare. It is not fried in oil and she uses no MSG. Baby helped design the restaurant that features a large circular serving station under high tech lighting.
Baby is very attentive to her customers and stops by each table to make sure they are happy, which is actually how we met.
“I like to speak to people and see how they’re enjoying their meal. I also like to make sure my restaurant is clean inside and out.”
Baby says her goal is to do her very best with what she’s been given.
The U.S. & Asian Buffet is located at 5101 Ashley Phosphate Road and is open every day from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. An adult lunch buffet is $7.99, adult dinner is $10.99. Children can enjoy the dinner buffet for $7.97. There is a large private room for group meetings and take-out is also available.