Just six months after it opened, restaurateur Amelie Kang’s FiDi dumpling and noodle bistro, Chubby Princess, has closed its door for good. A sign hanging on the door, at 200 Water Street, at Pearl Street, indicates that the restaurant has been replaced by a new Uyghur restaurant called Caravan Uyghur Cuisine. A spokesperson for Kang says the financial downturn from the COVID-19 crisis forced the restaurant to shutter permanently.
Chubby Princess initially closed in March following the state-mandated shutdown on dining in. March 17 was the last time the restaurant posted on its Instagram account, and informed customers that it wouldn’t be doing takeout or delivery for the duration of the shutdown.
For Kang — who runs the hit dry pot restaurant MáLà Project — Chubby Princess marked the second venture at the same location. She previously ran the fast-casual restaurant Tomorrow, which opened in 2017 and focused on homey-fare from northern China, where Kang grew up. She pivoted to the new restaurant in January this year, saying that diners found some of the dishes at Tomorrow to be too “exotic.”
Chubby Princess, instead, focused on more “familiar,” options, according to Kang, like noodles and dumplings, and most dishes cost under $10. Still, the pivot was upended by the pandemic, and the restaurant was forced to shutter just a couple of months after it opened.
The restaurant now becomes the latest NYC establishment that has been forced to shutter due to financial fallout from the novel coronavirus crisis. In April, the New York State Restaurant Association predicted that at least seven percent of the state’s restaurants would be permanently forced to shutter due to the ongoing crisis.