In November, the Chinese Restaurant News hosts its fourth-annual "Top 100 Chinese Restaurants in the USA" awards. The magazine selects winners on the basis of positive media reviews and then, for a second round of voting, more specific criteria. (For example, at least 50 percent of the items on a restaurant's menu must be Chinese food.)
Because the public is allowed to vote on nominated restaurants by going to the Chinese Restaurant News Web site (top100chineserestaurants.com), I couldn't resist checking to see which local dining spots were up for the honors.
Bo Lings — the Plaza location at 4800 Main— has been nominated, but by the end of last week, it hadn't earned a lot of votes. In fact, with 210 votes, it was doing rather pathetically compared with the numbers racked up by a restaurant I'd never heard of: China King at 305 Northeast Todd George Road in Lee's Summit. As of last Friday, the Lee's Summit China King was reporting 311,235 votes — pretty impressive, especially when you consider the fact that the number is more than three times the population of Lee's Summit. Clearly, China King is luring customers from a wide swath of the metro — or something like that.
The only other nominated restaurant on the Missouri side is Lao Peking Restaurant at 1020 South Sterling in Independence, which had racked up 480 votes.
I could find only one nominated restaurant in Johnson County: the Joy Luck Chinese Restaurant at 9764 Quivira in Overland Park. It must be very, very popular: It had garnered 10,172 votes — more than any other nominated venue in the state of Kansas. One of its competitors, the Dragon House in Clay Center, didn't have any votes. But Clay Center is home to fewer than 5,000 people — even if every last one of them voted for a local Chinese joint, nothing there could come close to beating the Overland Park candidate, which seems to be having a lot of joy luck, all right.