‘Queen’ blooms in Old Town eatery

       Maybe it's the tea.

Yakitori's Queen of the Night in full bloom the night of Aug. 2
Courtesy of Efren Ramirez

       When John and Thuy Griffith bought the Yakitori restaurant in Old Colorado City three years ago, an unusual plant came with the package: Known as a Queen of the Night, it has the reputation of producing its big, complex white flowers only once a year… and even then, only at night, with the bloom faded by morning.
       Thuy, the manager and head cook, heard that tea is good for such plants, “and we have tea here,” she pointed out. Whatever the reason, her Queen of the Night puts out blooms more than once a year, she said - all to the good, because “the Chinese believe that if you see it bloom, it will bring you luck,” Thuy said.
       Efrem Ramirez, a regular store customer from the east side, did not mention luck in an e-mail he sent to the Westside Pioneer, but he was thrilled to find out from Thuy that a bloom was imminent. So he braved the heavy rains to drive across town the evening of Aug. 2, then waited in the restaurant for more than two hours for the bloom to occur.
       “It was worth the wait,” he reported in his e-mail. He described the flower as having “many spiky petals but on the outside are long purplish petals that envelope the buds like slitted sheaths that curl along the edges. The inside petals are white as lillies but when they open you can see a star shaped stamen in front and then at the back are soft yellowish tiny seeds standing like tiny bean sprouts in a cavernous mouth. What a beautiful display. And Thuy was right, it also emitted a fragrant scent, almost like gingery to waft through the tiny restaurant.”

Westside Pioneer article