Developer shares details, timeline as Port Neches riverfront restaurant breaks ground

Published 12:30 am Friday, February 23, 2024

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PORT NECHES — Construction and weather permitting, Port Neches riverfront will have a brand new, family friendly restaurant before the end of the year.

Local businessman and restaurateur Min Dai, along with business partner Abe Song and city officials, held a small ceremony this week to mark the ground breaking for Pour Neches.

The double decker, beach house-style restaurant will located adjacent to Neches River Wheelhouse.

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It is described as a family friendly restaurant that will have interior seating upstairs, which can double as a venue for events. There will be four pickle ball courts on site, two beach volleyball courts and a sand beach children’s play area with room for a large 20- to 30-feet screen outside for movie nights and hosting games and live music.

Dai chose Port Neches for the location because he sees how supportive the community is and because the Port Neches Economic Development Corporation offers incentives to businesses.

Dai said it took approximately two years of going back and forth in discussions with the city to get to this point, and he’s happy to be constructing the restaurant in Port Neches.

Dai has quite a resume; CEO at Suite C Event Lounge, CEO at Pour09 Bar& Rooftop, CEO at Ko Korean Grill, co-founder/producer at Beaumont Mural Festival and CEO at Tokyo Steak House and Sushi Bar.

When asked if he saw himself in this spot when he first started out, the answer was no.

After graduating college he planned to go New York and work for Merrill Lynch, but those plans changed. His father was the original owner of Tokyo on Dowlen Road in Beaumont, and he assumed Dai would return to town and help with the business. His father had owned the restaurant for five years before it broke even financially.

“He wasn’t losing money but he wasn’t making money,” Dai said.

Dai stepped in, starting at the bottom as dishwasher and worked every single position, including bus boy and chef.

“He wanted me to learn every section of the business,” he said, adding he needed the knowledge of all of the positions in order to run a successful restaurant.

Pour Neches

Late last year Port Arthur Newsmedia spoke with Dai about his vision for the riverfront eatery. He described a concept with a permanent kitchen on site with a full service menu and an additional kiosk for local food trucks that come in on a weekly or bi-weekly basis.

“We’ll see different kinds of food, so the community can try a lot of different flavors without us changing our menu,” he said. “The food trucks will switch out different cuisines; one truck may serve barbecue, another may have specialty tacos or Mediterranean food — all in addition to what the house menu serves.”