After four years in business, Erika Chou has decided to close her restaurant at 79 Clinton Street. Chou originally opened this space as Yunnan Kitchen, a restaurant serving food inspired by the Yunnan province in southwestern China. Travis Post, a veteran of Franny’s, was the opening chef. Pete Wells gave the restaurant one sparkler, and the Robs handed out four Underground Gourmet stars. Post left the restaurant one year into its run, and Chou tapped Doron Wong, a chef who previously worked with Susur Lee and Ken Oringer, to helm the kitchen.
Last summer, Chou and Wong opened a dumpling-focused spinoff in Brookfield Place called Northern Tiger, and the duo also decided to switch up the menu, name, and overall concept of their Lower East Side restaurant. Robert Sietsema liked his first visit to Yunnan BBQ, with special praise for the beef short rib and the Yunnan noodles. But the revamp didn't bring the crowds that the restaurant needed to keep humming along on Clinton Street. The restaurant’s last day in business will be June 30.
Erika Chou tells Eater the she’s working on a new restaurant with Wong in a space on Second Avenue in the 80s, although she has not yet revealed the exact address. The restaurateur says this will be "Chinese-centric but with a little more range" than her other two projects. If everything goes according to plan, this new establishment will open by the end of the summer. Chou remarks: "We've accomplished what we set out to do with Yunnan and have laid a wonderful foundation for things ahead."