Yummy House China Bistro was voted best restaurant for an authentic meal by TBO.com.

People told John Zhao he was crazy to put an upscale Chinese restaurant in east Tampa.

But in the two months since Yummy House China Bistro opened on Hillsborough Avenue, some 300 customers a day are proving Zhao is not only sane but possibly brilliant.

“It’s going unbelievable,” says the 31-year-old restaurateur, who co-owns the original Yummy House on west Waters Avenue with executive chef Tommy Tang.

So much so, the pair is opening yet another eatery, the Country Pumpkin Café, beside the bistro. Look for a third Yummy House in Clearwater in the coming months.

Can there really be this much demand for Chinese food?

On a recent Wednesday evening, Zhao counted 293 customers. Lunchtime, he says, typically has a 30-minute wait. And almost every weekend, large parties are booking the venue for special celebrations.

Most customers, he says, are regulars who got hooked on the first Yummy House, a tiny strip-mall restaurant with a cult-like following that prodded Zhao to search for bigger, fancier digs.