A more fitting name for these days may be Husband & Wife Seafood, but no matter who’s frying the fish, this longtime Lorton restaurant remains a popular destination for seafood lovers.
Diners come from as far away as Fredericksburg for such staples as fish and chips, steamed shrimp and fresh crabs in season, said Jung Cho, who owns the restaurant with her husband, Kye.
The Chos took over the carryout restaurant in 2001 from the father and son who opened it in the Gunston Plaza Shopping Center in 1989. Jung Cho said they kept the name because everyone already knew the restaurant as Father & Son.
Kye Cho had dreamed of opening his own business after the couple moved to the United States from South Korea in 1990. “Freedom is very important,“ said Jung, adding that she prefers the more informal lifestyle here.
They settled in Virginia, where Kye had family. They had worked in an electronics factory back home, but they spoke little English, so Jung took on sewing work and Kye got a job at a dry cleaners. Kye wanted his own dry cleaning business but Jung thought that was too hard of a life. When a realtor told them there was a seafood restaurant for sale in Lorton, they bought it even though they didn’t know anything about the business.
They learned from the owners, Jung said. “It was hard, but we did it.”
Business was good in the early years but things slowed down as the economy soured. They no longer get the lunch crowds they used to get and they will have to raise prices this year for the first time in five years, she said.
But Father & Son continues to maintain a loyal following, with customers from the Lorton area as well as Prince William County and Alexandria. The Chos have never advertised, relying on word of mouth. People have asked them to open a restaurant in Fredericksburg, Jung said, but that would be too difficult, with them already working seven days a week while raising a 15-year-old son (the Chos also have two grown daughters). Will it be Father & Son again someday? The boy helps out sometimes at the store, but his mother doesn’t see that happening.
7774 Gunston Plaza, 703-550-3668, Open daily for lunch and dinner. Prices: Fish and chips are $5.99, the Combo Box (four pieces of fish, four shrimp, six hot wings, French fries and hush puppies) is $8.99 and the 24-piece Jumbo Shrimp Basket is $23.49. Jung Cho said one longtime customer travels from Alexandria for the collard greens, which are sold as a side dish as well as part of the popular Special #1.
Owners’ favorites: Jung likes the steamed shrimp, while her husband is partial to their chicken wings.