If you hang around somewhere long enough…..

Those who are new to Happy Healthy Club may not be aware of its affiliation with a very unique restaurant called the Mountain Palace (http://www.mountainpalace.net/). It is owned and operated by Lacy Cai and Clay Shirey. The story behind Mountain Palace is as unique as the restaurant itself, and every patron has a story to tell. What follows is my story.

Mountain Palace sprang up in my neighborhood one summer, taking me, my family and all my close friends quite by surprise. There were rumblings in the summer of 2011 about a Chinese restaurant that was supposed to open on the Creek Road in Bolivar. But to be honest, the very concept of a restaurant on the Creek Road seemed so preposterous that I thought it must surely be a confabulation of some sort….that is, until a blinking neon sign appeared in the window of a house that I had doubtless passed innumerable times in my local travels yet had somehow managed not to notice for a few decades. But there it was in the window: a flashing neon sign that read "Open".

Curiosity brought me to Mountain Palace the first time, but the delicious food and the hospitality kept me coming back. Well, okay – that's not entirely true. The food is delicious of course, Lacy is a sweetheart, and Clay's eternal good cheer and hospitality is undeniable. But what really kept me coming back was my absolute fascination with the people who had conceived such an unlikely creation in the first place. And since I'm in the area every weekend (where I grew up and where my mother still resides), I became a fixture at the place. Well, as the saying goes, if you hang around somewhere long enough, someone will give you a job to do. That's exactly what happened. I was recruited to help out at the restaurant on an "as needed" basis. Since then, I’ve had the privilege of filling drinks, delivering meals, setting up hot pots, messing up orders and busing tables on more than a handful of occasions. It’s a great substitute for an actual social life.

Hope to see you soon at the restaurant!

  • Lacy Cai
    Lacy Cai
    Joel is our gift!
  • Clay Shirey
    Clay Shirey
    Wow! The mission progresses!