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One of NYC’s Best Wonton Soups Departs Chinatown After 33 Years

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Plus, diners are making a comeback — and more intel

Chicken soup with roast duck, wontons, noodles, and cabbage in a white bowl
Duck wonton and noodle soup from Yee Li
Robert Sietsema/Eater

A 33-year-old wonton soup specialist closes in Chinatown

Yee Li, the old-fashioned Cantonese restaurant that served one of the city’s best wonton soups, has closed after 33 years in Chinatown. The restaurant at 60 Bayard St. was known for its window-displayed ducks and whole roast pigs, along with other more obscure charcuterie. Second-generation owner John Chen tells Gothamist that the restaurant’s lease ended and the family was unable to negotiate a new deal. The restaurant had originally planned to close Sunday but the health department shut it down early, according to Gothamist.

The decades-old spot paid homage to the food that Chinatown was originally founded on — old-fashioned Cantonese, in the form of stir fries, seafood, and staples like wonton soup. Eater critic Robert Sietsema deemed that wonton soup — whose broth was stronger than usual to readily flavor the massed components in the bowl — the best in the city. Though this location is gone, the same family recently opened New Yee Li on the edge of Borough Park at 6619 Fort Hamilton Parkway.

In other news

— Upstate, diners are making a trendy comeback, fueled by those looking for avocado toast in a photo-friendly space.

— The world’s tennis luminaries have descended upon NYC for the U.S. Open, and Novak Djokovic was spotted dining at Italian restaurant Scarpetta, sticking to a mostly vegan diet.

— A thief stole $400 in cash and two bottles of Hennessey from Chelsea Ristorante Italiano early Saturday morning.

— While attempting to steal the cash box from a Midtown halal cart, a man stabbed the vendor, who was taken to the hospital for arm wounds.

— The “Bagel Boss” has gotten into another fight, this one leading to his arrest and a reported psych evaluation.

— Lol:

Yee Li Restaurant

1 Elizabeth St, New York, NY 10013 (212) 219-3686