East meets West Bend
Pearl of Canton set to open Thursday

By Paul Zukowski - Special to Conley Media

Feb. 13, 2019

Black strings separate the large interior of the restaurant into smaller, intimate dining areas.
Submitted photo

WEST BEND — The best of Asian cuisine, whether Chinese, Japanese, or Vietnamese, will soon be served in West Bend at the new Pearl of Canton restaurant, set to open Thursday — just in time for Valentine’s Day.

A labor of love located at 125 S. Main St. in downtown West Bend, the Pearl of Canton has been under construction since 2017, when owner BeBay “Sandy” Luu purchased the two-story building it occupies. Originally a Sears retail outlet, the site needed a completely new commercial kitchen since there had never been one there, as well as extensive remodeling of the 6,000-square-foot dining area, which features high recessed ceilings.

The new look is nothing like the typical Chinese restaurant, but rather takes its cues from high-end Asian fusion places featuring darker tones and intense red accents. The Pearl uses arched entryways and black string curtains to divide the vast dining area into separate rooms, and decorative wood dividers to set off more intimate table spaces.

BeBay “Sandy” Luu and Ron Dibble say they are excited for the grand opening of their
Pearl of Canton restaurant Thursday.

Submitted photo

Once the West Bend Common Council approved the Pearl’s liquor license in early January, Luu and her partner, Ron Dibble, were eager to open. Living upstairs in their building means quick access to solving the many challenges of  converting a retail store into an Asian restaurant. Ron Dibble is a longtime Wisconsinite who has built specialty restaurants all over the United States. Sandy Luu has been part of the West Bend scene for seven years, having built, operated and sold Modern Nails. She came here from Vietnam by way of Vancouver, British Columbia.

The restaurant’s name pays homage to the first Asian cuisine, Cantonese “chop suey,” brought to America by the Chinese laborers from Canton who built the western part of the Continental Railroad in the 1800s. The Pearl of Canton will be open daily from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m.