Portsmouth diner transformed into modern Asian restaurant

Mindy’s opens at former spot of Reidy’s Family Restaurant

By Jim McGaw
Posted 9/9/21

PORTSMOUTH — Goodbye meatloaf dinner, hamburger and fries and fish and chips. Hello Dragon Roll, Shio Ramen and Shrimp and Scallop Hibachi combo.

When you step inside Mindy’s …

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Portsmouth diner transformed into modern Asian restaurant

Mindy’s opens at former spot of Reidy’s Family Restaurant

Posted

PORTSMOUTH — Goodbye meatloaf dinner, hamburger and fries and fish and chips. Hello Dragon Roll, Shio Ramen and Shrimp and Scallop Hibachi combo.

When you step inside Mindy’s Restaurant and Sushi Bar, you can hardly believe it was once home to Reidy’s Family Restaurant, a Portsmouth institution since the 1950s before owner Bob Collins closed it for good last year.

Gone are the booths and counter that jutted out inside the former beloved greasy spoon. They’ve been replaced by new tables and chairs, a sushi bar, and modern lighting and decor.

Yu L. Zhang (she goes by “Mindy”) purchased the property at 3351 East Main Road last year from Mr. Collins, who found it difficult to reopen his restaurant under the strict COVID guidelines at the time.

Ms. Zhang said she’s already met some former customers of Reidy’s, and hopes to grow a strong clientele. “Some of them have come in. Everyone who’s local in Portsmouth knows Reidy’s,” she said.

She formerly ran Umi’s Asian Cuisine on Broadway in Newport for about a year and a half, but decided to make the move to Portsmouth because she had only a two-year lease.

“It took me a year to open up,” said Ms. Zhang, who said the pandemic, as well as construction delays, extended her original timeframe. She now lives in Portsmouth and has two sons, one of whom recently graduated from PHS.

While business has gone well so far, Mindy’s is experiencing the same problem plaguing many other dining establishments. 

“I’m very excited, but one thing is, I can’t find any help. It’s very difficult to find help,” said Ms. Zhang. “So far it’s been pretty busy, but we don’t have enough staff, and I’m afraid some people have to wait during the dinner rush.”

The shortage of help has also put her plans to serve breakfast on hold for now. (During a chat with The Portsmouth Times on Tuesday, in fact, a couple came in shortly before 11 a.m., hoping for breakfast.)

“It’s still something I want to do, but I’m looking for a reliable cook,” she said, adding that she also needs servers and bartenders.

Sushi a big draw

With the addition of Mindy’s, now there are three Asian restaurants on East Main Road within a stretch of less than a mile. Ms. Zhang said Mindy’s is different, however.

“We’re really Asian, while they’re mainly just Chinese food. We have sushi here, and hibachi, which people love,” she said. (All hibachi dinners are served with miso soup, a house salad, fried rice and vegetables.)

Other dishes that may be new to Portsmouth diners include ramen noodles (including a Vietnamese version which is similar to pho), Chinese Eggplant with Spicy Garlic Sauce, Clams with Black Bean Sauce, a Pork Belly Bun, pad thai, and more. 

The sushi bar, the only one in Portsmouth, can fit 10 people. You can order by entree or à la carte everything from sashimi (chunks of different varieties of raw fish), raw and cooked (Maki/California) rolls, special fusion rolls, as well as oysters, little necks, samplers and more. 

There’s even a Sushi “Pizza,” which features your choice of tuna or salmon, with crispy egg roll skin topping and kanikama (crab sticks), avocado, jalapeño, scallion, tobiko (flying fish roe), spicy mayo, eel and house mayo.

Order the Bento Box and you get a little taste of everything: Your choice of steak, chicken teriyaki, salmon teriyaki, shrimp teriyaki, chicken katsu or red snapper, along with Toyko House, shrimp and vegetable tempura, a California roll, dumpling, salad and rice.

The menu, to put it mildly, is extensive.

“There are so many things to choose from,” Ms. Zhang said. “I tried to get everything that people like, so they can get it from us.” 

Mindy’s is open from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m., Monday through Thursday; 11 a.m. to 10:30 p.m. on Friday and Saturday; and noon to 10 p.m. on Sunday. For more information, call 401/683-6688 or 401/683-0088, or visit www.mindysri.com, where you can order online.

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