Apparently the owner of Ching Hua has had it on the market (in Chinese newspapers) for a while, with no takers. Meanwhile, East End is having trouble keeping up with demand in its limited space. So Paul Manousos is partnering with Jacob Alioto (chef at Luka's) to take over the Ching Hua space, including the full liquor license.
Not surprisingly, they'll be expanding the menu to non-pizza offerings, including cocktails and bar snacks. They'll also be broadening their pizza offerings to include a 10-inch size (yay!) in addition to their standard 14-inch.
The owner of Ching Hua, who still has two other restaurants, is said to be planning a Japanese place on Piedmont Avenue.
I didn't ask Paul about the timeline -- I think we all know it's impossible to predict how smoothly a transition like this will go, and I don't know how much redecorating they're planning. I think I heard words like "casual" and "tavern" which would mean a pretty significant redo of the sleek, Asian-modern Ching Hua space.