As a tribute to restaurant industry and media icon Anthony Bourdain, Xi’an Famous Foods has raised $73,509.76 for suicide prevention following Bourdain’s death. Xi’an, a mini-chain that sells Western Chinese fare, exploded in popularity due in large part to Bourdain’s support on his travel show No Reservations. Once a stall in Flushing, it now has 12 locations throughout New York City.
Co-owner Jason Wang says that sales almost doubled on Friday as fans poured in to show their support, and the Greenpoint location even ran out of food an hour before closing.
“I’ve received thank you’s from Tony’s fans and our guests alike, and as much as I appreciate their words, ultimately this is a tribute of thanks to our friend Tony who made it possible for us to achieve this at all,” Wang said in an email. “It is moving to see the amount of support people have shown, and it sure shows how many people loved Tony and how many of our fans found their way to us through Tony’s recommendation.”
On Friday, Wang penned a heartfelt tribute to Bourdain, writing in part:
I remember years later in 2015, after interviewing together for an article, I approached Tony and told him, while he may have no idea what he has done for our family and business by simply saying he enjoyed the food, I wanted him to know it helped bring our family out from living in one room in Flushing to living the American dream. We were able to grow our business and provide great food for our guests, and opportunities for our employees. I looked at him in the eyes and said, this is something we will always be thankful for, Tony. And he simply replied, “I’m just calling out good food like it is, that’s all.”
The money, raised from net sales on Friday, will go to the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline (1-800-273-8255).
If you or anyone you know is considering suicide or self-harm or is anxious, depressed, upset, or needs to talk, call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255 or text the Crisis Text Line at 741-741. For international resources, here is a good place to begin.