Christine Lee Mallock first opened her restaurant in 1959 in Elizabeth, N.J. She decided to move the restaurant to South Florida after someone attacked her in a parking lot. Christine and her husband Steven Mallock flew to Sunny Isles Beach and stayed at the Golden Strand to recuperate. While there, Lee discovered the hotel's dining room was empty, and decided to relocate her restaurant.
Since 1970, the restaurant has had three locations in Sunny Isles Beach. After staying in the Golden Strand for four years, the restaurant moved to the Thunder Bird Resort Motel, and finally in 1995 to a shopping plaza at 17082 Collins Ave., where it remained until it closed.
Today, Christine Lee's is in the hands of her daughter Mary, who inherited her mother's zest and passion for her guests' supreme enjoyment of the time they share. Mary Lee remembered her mother as a gracious host who dressed up in a variety of Chinese dresses when she worked. She recalled her mother becoming acquanted with some of the stars, including Lucille Ball, with whom she played backgammon for hours in the back of the dining room.