In the midst of all the temporary restaurant closures over the weekend, the East Village location of Little Tong Noodle Shop closed its doors permanently after nearly three years.
The original location of the Yunnan restaurant started in the neighborhood, and at the time, mixian — the spaghetti-shaped rice noodles — was not nearly as popular across the city as it is now. Chef and owner Simone Tong had ambitions for New Yorkers to be more exposed to the flavors of the Yunnan province with her restaurant.
By many measures, it worked: Soon after Little Tong opened and received two stars in a New York Times review, more mixian restaurants opened in high-traffic areas of Manhattan. She was also part of a surge in the East Village of hip, regionally specific Chinese and Taiwanese restaurants. Tong personally expanded, as well. There’s a Midtown East location, plus an outpost in the food hall the Deco. The team plans to reopen those, according to general manager Emmeline Zhao.
The team had already planned to close the East Village location this spring as it prepares to open Silver Apricot, a finer dining Chinese restaurant in the West Village. But because of the health crisis, the final closure came much sooner.