Chinatown’s legendary hand-pulled noodle restaurant, 88 Lan Zhou, will permanently close this month due to the novel coronavirus pandemic. The restaurant first announced the closure in a post on Instagram and a worker at the restaurant confirmed that the restaurant’s last day of service would be Saturday, August 15.
88 Lan Zhou previously closed in August 2017, when the beloved hand-pulled noodle restaurant moved from its original location on East Broadway to its expanded, current home at 40 Bowery. Eater mourned the loss of the restaurant at the time — believing that the closure would be permanent — and wrote that the city had lost one of its “best dumpling spots.”
When asked about the possibility of a comeback this time around, however, an employee working in the store on August 3 said that 88 Lan Zhou would likely be gone for good. The restaurant’s Instagram post likewise said that the restaurant would be “closed forever.”
The Chinatown institution first debuted on East Broadway in 2007, back when it operated under the abbreviated name Lam Zhou. At that time, the restaurant was among the first wave of Fujianese-owned hand-pulled noodle spots to open in Manhattan and quickly developed a following for its brief but affordable menu. The most expensive item on the restaurant’s menu of roughly 25 dishes, oxtail soup, costs just $6.
For all its history as a pioneering hand-pulled noodle restaurant, though, 88 Lan Zhou was best known for its dumplings. The pork and chive variety — 11 dumplings for $3 — comes wrapped in a chewy but delicate casing and is topped with housemade chile oil, a combination of flavors that’s resulted in some of the city’s best dumplings. Frozen dumplings can also be purchased from the restaurant at an unbeatable $9 for 50 dumplings.
88 Lan Zhou is open daily from 10:30 a.m. to 10:30 p.m. until August 15.