clock menu more-arrow no yes

Filed under:

The Number of Chinese Restaurants in NYC Is Declining

New, 4 comments

Plus, the city’s ‘ghost kitchens’ are on the rise — and more intel

If you buy something from an Eater link, Vox Media may earn a commission. See our ethics policy.

A chef cooks on a wok with fire raging Shutterstock

New York City’s share of Chinese restaurants is shrinking, part of a growing national trend of Chinese restaurants in large metropolitan areas across the country shutting down, a recent Times report reveals. Many of these restaurants were opened by Chinese immigrants to the United States in the 1960s, and as they age, it becomes harder to sustain the grueling hours of the restaurant business. Plus, their children are often pursuing careers outside of the restaurant industry, leaving them no one to take over. In New York, longtime Chinese restaurants like Legend and Yi Lee have closed in recent years with other possible factors contributing to the decline, including the shortage of trained Chinese cooks.

However, all is not lost for the city’s Chinese restaurants: In some cases, like Chinatown’s Nom Wah Tea Parlor, second- and third-generation immigrants have taken over and expanded the business. Chinese fast-casual establishment Junzi Kitchen recently closed on a $5 million fund this year in part to take over some of these Chinese restaurants that are on the verge of closing, using the money to modernize the spaces and re-open while retaining the restaurants’ menus and identities. There is also a growing group of younger restaurant owners who are establishing modern Chinese restaurants in the city like MáLà Project, Little Tong, and Mimi Cheng’s.

In other news:

— The city’s “ghost kitchens” — restaurants that don’t have a physical location for sit-down meals or pick up, and only do deliveries through services like Grubhub and Seamless — are growing.

— Fast food behemoth McDonald’s has sold a Midtown building it owned for decades — and that is home to a Mcdonald’s location — for $35 million. No word yet on if this McDonald’s location, at 429 Seventh Avenue, between West 33rd and 34th Streets, will close.

— Keith McNally’s Beekman Hotel restaurant Augustine is now serving afternoon tea from 3 p.m. to 5 p.m. daily. The service includes several Austrian specialties thanks to chef Marcus Glocker, who is also a partner at the Tribeca restaurant Bâtard.

— The owners of Noho’s Il Buco and Il Buco Alimentari e Vineria have opened a permanent shop to sell their Italian tableware collection, Il Buco Vita.

— Anyone else?

Sign up for the newsletter Sign up for the Eater New York newsletter

The freshest news from the local food world