Owners Julia and Michael Lin are celebrating the 10th anniversary of their New South Ocean Restaurant in Flourtown, with son, Daniel, 10, and daughter Ava Lin, 5, on a recent busy Sunday night. (Photo by Barbara Sherf)

by Barbara Sherf

The owners of the New South Ocean Asian Bistro in Flourtown certainly have some staying power as the growing Lin family celebrates the 10-year anniversary of their popular Chinese/Japanese eatery located near the Acme in the Flourtown Shopping Center.

But the couple’s journey hasn’t been all smooth sailing. Shortly after they took ownership of the eatery from a family friend, a fire in the adjoining pizza shop caused smoke damage, forcing owners Julia and Michael Lin to put their dreams on hold for nine months. The move forced them to take jobs at a nationwide Japanese chain restaurant while the local strip of stores was overhauled.

“You do what you have to do,” Michael said with a big, wide smile while overseeing the kitchen. “We feel fortunate not only to have regular customers who dine in, but many more who stop by for takeout.”

Indeed, on any given weekend night, customers line up on a bench waiting or standing in the entryway and even out the door for the quick, hot, savory and reasonably priced takeout dishes.

“When they say 15 minutes for pickup, I can pretty much set my watch by it,” said customer John Lawler on a recent Sunday night, picking up both Japanese and Chinese food during halftime of an Eagles home game.

Although the restaurant’s address is 1664 Bethlehem Pike, the storefront is actually behind a BP gas station and could be easily overlooked. With consistently positive Yelp.com reviews, though, customers continue to flock to the bustling eatery.

“It’s quick and convenient, with low prices and a great value for the buck,” said Flourtown’s Denny Goldman, who for under $22 and some change was getting food for a family of four. “There may not be much in terms of leftovers, but you can’t beat the price and quality, and they are so friendly. Always with a smile.”

While the Lins met in Philadelphia in 2001 through family friends, they had come to this country from southern China in the late ’90s and settled in Northeast Philadelphia.

On a recent visit, my husband and I tried a Steak & Salmon Bento Box ($16.95) that contained a piece of steak sliced so thinly it melted in our mouths and was more than enough to feed two.

While Julia generally runs the front end of the restaurant, Michael is mostly in the kitchen, and the kids are in a booth playing with video games or drawing.

A BYOB, New South Ocean is open Tuesday to Saturday from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. and Sunday from noon to 9:30 p.m. For takeout orders or more information, call 215-836- 8188, or for quick online ordering, visit newsouthoceanflourtown.com

Barbara Sherf is a Flourtown “foodie” who has been enjoying food at South Ocean since it opened. She can be reached at CommunicationsPro.com