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Chinese Restaurants Close in Droves Due to Staffing and Supply Issues, Report Says

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Plus, Momofuku’s fried chicken chain Fuku is testing out delivery in Brooklyn — and more intel

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Curving Doyers Street with no pedestrians.
An empty Doyers Street in Manhattan’s Chinatown
Robert Sietsema/Eater NY

Supply chain and staffing shortages are hitting Chinese-American restaurants

Chinese restaurants are among the hardest hit in the New York City food world following the coronavirus pandemic — but the restaurant closures are the result of more than racism or xenophobia that many Asian restaurants across the city have experienced in light of the crisis. Many restaurants can’t stay open even for takeout and delivery due to supply chain shortages and staffing issues, according to a new report from Gothamist.

Some Chinese restaurants in New York City have struggled to find enough employees who are willing to work, such as Nom Wah Tea Parlor, which temporarily closed last month. People are concerned about their health and safety; many of them live with older relatives and are worried about spreading the virus. Some suppliers in Chinatown are closing or slimming down hours, making it more difficult to find ingredients.

Gothamist called more than 50 Chinese takeout restaurants across the five boroughs. Only one, China Wang in the Bronx, answered the phone to say it was accepting orders on Monday afternoon. On a national level, restaurant trade magazine Restaurant Business reported that about half of the country’s Chinese restaurants have closed amid the pandemic, based on a survey conducted by a credit card processing company.

In other news

— David Chang’s fast-casual fried chicken chain Fuku is testing out delivery service in select cities, including Portland, Miami, and Brooklyn, New York. The restaurant’s spicy fried-chicken sandwiches, Fuku fingers, french fries, and ssam sauce are now available for delivery through Caviar.

— Lining the walls of Katz’s Delicatessen is a familiar slogan: “Send a Salami to Your Boy in the Army.” Starting this week, those at home can now purchase meals from Katz’s to be delivered to health care workers in the community. Additionally, the New York staple is partnering with the Henry Street Settlement to feed one lower income or senior citizen building each day on the Lower East Side.

— Los Angeles-based burger chain Umami Burger is nabbing a second location in the Le Meridien Hotel at 120 West 57th Street, between Sixth and Seventh Avenues. The delivery-only concept will also be joined by Sam’s Crispy Chicken, a fried chicken restaurant from parent company SBE, a spokesperson for the company says.

— Popular Middle Eastern fast-casual spot Mamoun’s Falafel has launched a “Buy One, Feed One” fundraiser at its East Village and Greenwich Village locations. For each falafel sandwich purchased this month, the restaurant will cover the cost of one meal at the Food Bank For New York City.

— East Village wine bar Ruffian is hosting its fourth virtual drink-along this evening. Tickets to tonight’s wine class, which focuses on the oaked chardonnay, can be purchased online for $10.

— And I repeat:

Correction: This article has been updated to remove Xi’an Famous Foods, which did not closed on March 14 as a precautionary measure.