By Boyd C. Allen

Pilot Staff Writer

Onion Grill owners George and Letty Lee are retiring and have sold their business to Burger King.

George says he is ready to fish and Letty is taking a month-long cruise to Thailand and Japan with her sister.

Ironically, George originally moved his restaurant – Lee’s Dragon Gate – here in 1988 from Cave Junction so he could fish more often.

“And then I worked seven days a week,” he said. “Not much time for fishing.”

George said he gets seasick, so he fishes from shore for red-tailed perch and in lakes for bass and trout.

“I like to fish too,” Letty said. And I don’t get seasick, so he feeds the fish and I catch them.”

Letty invited George on the cruise as well, but he passed.

The Onion Grill began as Letty’s Buffet in 2005 while George was still running Lee’s Dragon Gate on Cottage Street.

George said the town was not right for a buffet because seniors did not want to serve themselves, so Onion Grill was made into a steakhouse.

When he sold Dragon Gate, he moved the Chinese food into the Onion Grill and from then on the two restaurants were combined. Each had its own kitchen and menu.

George said they are selling everything in the restaurant now, so when they bulldoze the building, it will only be a shell.

Burger King will replace the Onion Grill.

Letty said they are looking forward to traveling and visiting their son’s and daughter’s families and their five grandchildren.

They will also go to San Francisco and maybe winter there to help George’s parents who are 93 and 89 years old.

George and Letty are 66 and 62 respectively.

George said Letty will also be looking for a job, but she listed beading, crocheting and going to the gym as her goals. Letty said she will miss the restaurant and talking to the people who came in and became friends.

The Lees plan to remain in Brookings.

“If you drive up the coast, no city is as beautiful as Brookings,” George said.

Both also mentioned their beautiful home, the ocean views and the weather.

The Lees immigrated as children from Hong Kong and George wants to travel to Alaska because it was the first stop on his trip to the U.S. in 1968.

“When they took us into the airport in Alaska for customs, it was the first time my feet touched American soil and the first time I saw snow. We weren’t allowed to go outside,” he said. “I want to go back there and touch that snow.”

Reach Boyd C. Allen at ballen@currypilot.com .

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