Big portions at reasonable prices at Legend China 8 in Calimesa

Legend China 8 opened about two years ago on Calimesa Boulevard in Calimesa.

On a recent weekday evening, a steady stream of customers stops by Legend China 8 restaurant in Calimesa.

The COVID-19 outbreak may have put a pause on dine-in eating, but customers seem ready and eager to order takeout from the restaurant located in The Shoppes at Calimesa on Calimesa Boulevard.

“Probably people like the food and the big portions,” said owner John Ren, when asked what draws customers to the restaurant that opened about two years ago.

A prime example of large portions at a reasonable price are the daily special combination plates. For $8.45, customers can choose from 20 different entrées, ranging from Mongolian beef to orange chicken to shrimp in lobster sauce, served with an egg roll and large scoop of steamed or fried rice. For most, there’s sure to be leftovers.

The daily specials are just a small part of the extensive Legend China 8 menu options.

Appetizers include four egg rolls for $3.95, 10 steamed or fried dumplings for $7.25 and six shrimp tempura for $6.95.

Favorite soup options of egg drop, wonton and hot and sour can be ordered small or large, while sizzling rice, war wonton and house noodle soups are served in large portions.

Besides about 80 entrée choices in beef, poultry, seafood, pork, vegetarian, chop suey or egg foo young, fried rice and soft noodles, there are also gourmet specialties like lemon shrimp or fish and roasted duck.

And finally, dinners can be ordered family-style for two to eight people and includes steamed or fried rice, choice of soup, appetizer and entrees.

Before opening Legend China 8, Ren, who also owns China 8 in Cathedral City, had no ties to Calimesa.

“Somebody recommended it,” he said about the opportunity in Calimesa. “I have a friend, and he was here for a long time. When the owner closed the shop, he recommended it.”

Since reopening May 5, after closing temporarily for COVID-19, Ren has been keeping busy as a part-time cook. He always does some cooking, but he has been doing more recently.

“Right now, I am cooking … because of the COVID-19,” Ren said. “Sometimes, I cook two or three days a week maybe.”

When restaurants do reopen for dine-in, Ren is expecting to reduce Legend China 8’s capacity.

“Dining,” he said, “probably about 15% less.”

While COVID-19 guidelines are changing quickly, it’s unknown when that will be, so customers will have to be content with takeout for now. The steady stream on a weeknight indicates they don’t seem to mind.

Legend China 8, located at 1172 Calimesa Blvd. in Calimesa, is open seven days a week, from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. For takeout orders, call 918-0057.

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