Denny Mu

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Episode 108

Tough Love & Being there for Patrons

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About Denny Mu

Denny Mu was born December 17th 1986. He grew up in Northridge in the San Fernando Valley. His family had a location in Northridge from 1982 to 2020 and that’s where Denny started working in the family restaurant business. His father was the head chef and owner until he passed away when Denny was 7 years old.

That is one of the main reasons why Denny does what he does and loving it. He doesn’t remember too much about his father but Denny does remember how people always wanted his father’s attention and how he was very charismatic.

Denny feels that he was blessed with those same qualities. In a sense he wants to finish the road that his father started. Denny knows the restaurant is a tough lifestyle but It is a simple lifestyle, one where you can directly impact someone’s life for the better, which is why he tries his best to be kind and like family to his patrons.

Denny’s mother remarried when Denny was 11 years old. Denny feels that he is blessed to have had 2 fathers. Denny moved around a lot as a child and ended up going to Houston Texas for college. He worked for Corporate America but in the end found his calling in the family restaurant at Monterey Park and has been working there for a solid decade.

Mandarin Deli (now Mandarin Noodle House) first started in Chinatown in 1976 and Denny likes to think that his family were the first and the longest tenured noodle house and that there must be a reason why people love their food.

Denny is in it till the wheels fall off but he also understands that he can’t keep running around the restaurant forever. But until it isn’t fun anymore he will keep doing it and it’s still so much fun.

Denny is caring, outgoing, spontaneous and a big softee. He is a ‘Yes Man’ and that could in some ways be bad. He has been working since he was 14 and now at 36 he finds that the restaurant is all he knows and has provided stability. He is a man that speaks softly and walk with a big stick. Denny looks forward to what the future holds.

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“Food should be more simple… You know? So I part ourselves in a clean-tasting beef noodle soup. You know? Feeds the soul.”

“The restaurant lifestyle is tricky. There can be within an hour, there can be an injection of just a herd of people coming in. And then an hour later, it could be completely empty.”

“Never made any too many ties in my life, mainly because I was bouncing around as a child, not for bad things, just because, you know, family would like to flip homes, move here, move there. As I got older, I’m 37 now, so I I totally understand the sacrifice”

“We make everything on-premises, which I think has a value of its own… Everything is made on the premises. Every single day. Every single morning.”

  • Denny Mu originally owned Mandarin Deli and now owns Mandarin Noodle House
  • Denny Mu grew up in the San Fernando Valley
  • Denny went to college in Houston, Texas
  • Denny Mu is now a successful restauranteur in Monterey Park in the San Gabriel Valley

What is Denny Mu’s connection to the San Gabriel Valley?

Denny grew up in San Fernando Valley, but he often came out to SGV for groceries and to visit his eye doctor. However, his restaurant has been in the San Gabriel Valley for decades.


How many locations does Mandarin Noodle House have?

There are currently multiple locations: Monterey Park, Little Toyko, Chinatown, Northridge.


What was it like growing up with a family restaurant?

Denny Mu had difficulty making friends because he was constantly bouncing around while his family was flipping houses. He was personally involved in the restaurant business since he was 14. His stepfather would pick him up from school and bring him directly to the restaurant, so there was no time for friends or hanging out.


Is Denny Mu the holder of the family recipes?

He is, and he wants to get back to simple yet delicious recipes. Nowadays, he thinks too many recipes call for so many ingredients that overpower dishes.


What were Denny Mu’s jobs like out of high school?

Naturally, he went right into the restaurant business and was a bus boy, even during high school. In between homework, it was common for his mother would ask for assistance in the restaurant.

After high school, he left for a community college in Houston, Texas. He entered the corporate world for about half a decade and felt like the black sheep of his family.

Eventually, he missed the food world, and also, his mother asked him to come back and help out at the restaurant.


What was it like for Denny Mu being an Asian man and growing up in San Fernando Valley and then traveling to Houston?

Denny found it pretty wonderful. He has the gift of gab and finds that people tend to gravitate toward him. There was a southern hospitality where people were kind but also minded their own business.


Was it scary for Denny to jump back into the restaurant world?

At first, yes it was. He discovered that it took a little bit of time to get back in the rhythm of things. However, Denny credits the restaurant’s customers for always being so kind and understanding, and appreciative of his passion.


In Denny’s opinion, are many owners out of the loop in restaurants?

Absolutely. You have to be in the grind and in the trenches daily to fully understand what is happening day-to-day and to really appreciate it.



  1. The 99 Ranch Plaza (Focus Plaza)
  2. Rolling Wok
  3. All of the Boba spots in San Gabriel Valley

Instagram: @mandarinnoodlehouse