Originally from Beijing China, Robert Zhu was born to be an entrepreneur. Before even graduating from college Zhu hosted the first bilingual TV show Music Makers on Beijing Television and started his first small eatery on Beijing University’s campus with his current business partner; he now owns and operates three.
After moving to New York in 1994, Zhu dreamed of opening his first full-fledged restaurant in the city. In September 2002 he received a call from his current business partner asking him if he was still interested in opening a restaurant, not in New York, but in Beijing. Upon visiting the potential location, Zhu realized that it was right by the lake where he used to swim as a child; this is where his first restaurant would be. One year later, Lotus Blue Beijing opened its doors on Lotus Market in Houhai, featuring cuisine from Chiang Mai in Northern Thailand. One of the first Thai restaurants in Beijing, Lotus Blue was an immediate hit luring in locals and tourists alike, and even caught the attention of international celebrities, including singer Macy Gray, who had a jamming session there with a local band.
In 2010, Zhu decided that it was time to introduce New Yorkers to Yunnan cuisine, a cuisine influenced by Sichuan and Southeast Asian cooking from Thailand, Vietnam and Laos. In February 2012, New York’s first full service Yunnan Restaurant Lotus Blue opened its doors on Reade Street in Tribeca. Always looking to expand, in July 2008, right before the Beijing Olympics, Zhu opened Lantung, an expansive Thai restaurant and lounge in Solana Chaoyang Park, where Coca Cola ended up hosting its Olympic staff party.
While busy managing three restaurants, Zhu still finds time to pursue his interest in TV and film making, reading a script over a glass of wine or brainstorming about fascinating stories yet to be told with his screenwriter friends over dinner.
General Managing Partner
Jeffrey Lim was born in New York City but moved to Maryland at a very young age, where he grew up. In 1991, Jeffrey moved back to New York City to attend the Fashion Institute of Technology (FIT) and to pursue his dreams. He graduated from FIT in 1993 with a BA in Marketing with a specialty in the Cosmetic, Fragrance and Toiletries Industry. He dedicated the next 15 years of his life to the Fragrance industry, holding various positions from Marketing Manager to Account Executive at International Flavors and Fragrances (IFF), where he ran the Estee Lauder New Product Development Department.
Jeffrey was always interested in pursuing something in the restaurant and bar industry.
At an opportune time, an old friend, Robert Zhu, approached Jeffrey about an exciting new venture: bringing a restaurant concept from Beijing to New York City. Interestingly enough, as young men, Robert and Jeffrey dreamt about having a bar in New York City where they could create a warm and inviting space where people could hang out with friends and enjoy the ambiance.
After nearly 2 years of development, Lotus Blue Restaurant opened its doors in February of 2012. Jeffrey Lim’s current role is a General Managing Partner at Lotus Blue.