Yujo, an Asian restaurant at 511 Merrimack Ave., recently held its grand opening. From left are Candy Alise, Linda Lloyd, Assistant Town Manager Glen
Yujo, an Asian restaurant at 511 Merrimack Ave., recently held its grand opening. From left are Candy Alise, Linda Lloyd, Assistant Town Manager Glen Edwards, Selectman Tami Dristillaris, co-owner Janet Ng, Suwanee Manniyom, state Rep. Colleen Garry, co-owner Steven Lin, Greater Lowell Chamber of Commerce President Danielle McFadden and Chamber Vice President Karon Bergeron. COURTESY PHOTO

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DRACUT -- Area fans of the paradise roll, the No. 1 dish at Etsogo in downtown Lowell for the past seven years, will now have to venture across the river to get it.

Etsogo's owners, Steven Lin and Janet Ng, finally tired of the nearby construction in Kearney Square that obstructed the view of their Asian restaurant, reluctantly closing the eatery a couple weeks ago. They are now putting all of their efforts into making a success of their newest venture, Yujo, which they opened in February at the former Lin Garden on Merrimack Avenue in Dracut.

"It is bigger, it has sample parking and we have a full liquor license," said Ng, who said Etsogo's license was limited to selling beer and wine. "We were hoping to run both, but left Etsogo because of the construction and lack of parking."

She said the construction work, which resulted in scaffolding shielding the front of Etsogo's business, had been ongoing for four years.

Yujo, which means "friendship" in Chinese, is serving the same menu as did Etsogo. That includes the top-selling paradise roll, which features crab meat and tuna, as well as a variety of other Japanese, Chinese, Malaysian and Thai dishes.

The Dracut restaurant has seven employees.

While the scaffolding on Etsogo's building was a clear deterrent to business, Greater Lowell Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Danielle McFadden said Ng and Lin's experience enabled them to hold on longer than others may have.

"They've done this before (in Haverhill). They're pretty savvy when it comes to the restaurant business," McFadden said, adding that Yujo's location is "beautiful, right on the water."

Ng said before coming to Lowell, she and Lin owned another restaurant in Haverhill, Asian Bay, which they sold.

"We have been able to build up a clientele over seven years," Ng said. "So far we have built up a good bar crowd. We hope to get more for dining."

There is, of course, at least one thing they miss about downtown Lowell.

"There isn't much foot traffic here," she said.

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