GREENWICH VILLAGE — The owner of the Bleecker Street Chinese restaurant formerly known as Suzie's may be new to Greenwich Village, but he's no stranger to the family that ran the eatery for nearly 40 years — their clans have been close for five generations.
When Julie Lau and family closed Suzie's at 163 Bleecker St. in February, they passed the baton to restaurateur Ted Chang, whose family lived in the same neighborhood of Shanghai as Lau's.
The renovated restaurant, now called Uncle Ted's Modern Chinese Cuisine, will reopen Thursday with a chic twist to its once-classic food and design. The "modern Chinese" menu now has "small plates" items like roast pork salad ($10) and braised duck dumplings (five for $6) in addition to standards like beef with broccoli ($14).
"In this area, I think that's what people want," Chang, 52, a New Jersey resident, said Wednesday as he put the finishing touches on the restaurant.
The dining room revamped by the firm Alvarez + Brock Design, which overhauled the top-rated restaurant Le Cirque, now has pale gray and faint violet walls, with red stars made from fabric hung on the walls.
Chang, who was previously part-owner of the upscale Lincoln Center restaurant Shun Lee West, said he and a yet-to-be-hired bartender will create a cocktail menu to match the small-plate offerings.
Lau, who was on hand Wednesday to help Chang prepare for the launch of the Cantonese and Szechuan restaurant, said she hoped to welcome longtime customers starting on Thursday.
"I hope that they will embrace it," she said.
Susie Ying, Lau's mother and the restaurant's namesake, died in October 2010. Suzie's was briefly run by another operator starting in September, but they gave up the lease after three months, said Lau, a 54-year-old Battery Park City resident.
Regular and longtime Village resident Charles G. Wolf said he welcomed the change.
"I think this is going to be a breath of fresh air for Bleecker Street — from Aunt Suzie's to Uncle Ted's," he said.