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Dragon I closes after 8 years, State Street too competitive
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Dragon I closes after 8 years, State Street too competitive

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The State Street restaurant Dragon I closed due to heavy competition on State Street.

The Asian-fusion restaurant Dragon I has closed due to the competitive restaurant climate on State Street, its owner said.

Aichan "Wendy" Weng said it was a hard decision since Dragon I served the State Street community for many years. "There was a wall we couldn't get over," she said through her friend, Danna Viehl, who translated for her.

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Weng said she made the decision for many reasons, but mostly, she said, because State Street has too many restaurants trying to serve UW-Madison students.

"When the taste or the preference of food is changing constantly, we find that our choice of food offered at Dragon I is no longer keeping the trend with the students' taste," Viehl said.

The restaurant at 422 State St., offered poke bowls, and served Chinese, Japanese, Korean, Thai and Vietnamese foods.

Weng said with low sales, she couldn't justify staying open. She said even though she's still paying rent, closing was the better option financially.

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Dragon I had two floors and Weng didn't make use of the second floor, so it was hard to justify paying rent on a 5,000-square-foot space that wasn't totally utilized. The original owner used the upstairs area for karaoke as well as extra dining space.

Ray Sze opened Dragon I in 2012 and sold it to Weng two years later, so he could move back to his native Hong Kong. Sze also ran Nam's Noodle on Regent Street for 15 years before turning it over to family members.

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Weng, who is from South China, closed the restaurant Feb. 17. She also owns Ichiban on Park Street, Poke Plus & Teriyaki on State Street, and helps a friend run Taste of Sichuan, also on State Street.

Ichiban will celebrate its 10-year anniversary on March 15 and Weng said she's beginning to plan a special promotion for the occasion.

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