Say goodbye to critically acclaimed modern Chinese-American restaurant Fung Tu, chef Jonathan Wu and restaurateurs Wilson Tang and John Wells’ less than four-year-old Chinatown project.
The 22 Orchard Street restaurant will shut its doors at the end of August, according to a spokeswoman for the team. In its place, Tang — who is best known as the head of the Nom Wah Tea Parlor empire — will be flipping the space into Nom Wah Tu, a new restaurant intended to “combine Nom Wah’s classic Chinatown flavor with chef Wu’s more modern and playful tastes.”
Nom Wah Tu will open in late September, serving shareable plates, dumplings, rice, and noodle dishes. Fung Tu’s egg roll and lap cheong yellow noodles will transfer over to the new menu. It will also go big on a natural wine list, and Wu, along with beverage director Sophie Maarleveld, will still helm the restaurant.
In a statement, the team explains that despite a variety of changes to the menu and aesthetic of Fung Tu, they ultimately decided that “a much larger change was needed.” Still, Fung Tu received its share of praise while open. Though it got off to a rough start, by the year two, both the Times’ critic Pete Wells and Eater critic Ryan Sutton found that it had gained traction. They each awarded the restaurant two stars, with Sutton saying that Fung Tu became “one of the city’s most compelling destinations for Chinese-American cooking.”
It’s no surprise that Tang has decided to turn it into a Nom Wah-named restaurant. The original location of the tea parlor is one of the most historic restaurants in Chinatown, and he’s been going hard on expanding the Nom Wah brand in the last year. Tang has opened two more casual restaurants with the Nom Wah name, including Nom Wah Nolita and Nom Wah Kuai. He’s also expressed interest in opening up to four more dumpling restaurants in New York alone.
Fung Tu serves its final dinner service on August 31st and will serve a tasting menu with some of the restaurant’s signature dishes in that last week. Stay tuned for more.