You know that old saying that in this city, you could eat at a different restaurant every night for 50 years without going hungry? Well, if you’re a big fan of Chinese food, you may be doubting that mantra right about now. An article in today’s New York Sun reports that New York’s Chinese restaurants are having a really rough time. In the past few months, a slew of high-end Chinese favorites have closed their doors. Sichuan Pavilion at 310 E. 44th St., which was reportedly a favorite amongst celebrities, UN folk and even Communist leader Mao Zedong, closed on the 4th of July, after 25 years in business. Other recent closings include 66, Bill Hong, Jimmy Sung’s, Mainland, Ollie’s Times Square location, Flower Drum, Bruce Ho’s Four Seas and David K’s. Yikes.
Experts are expecting the closings to continue thanks to skyrocketing rents and changing consumer tastes. Albert Chee, one of the owners of the Sichuan Pavilion, told the Sun that their decision to close was mainly a result of spiking rental and labor costs. But some are also blaming diners’ en vogue taste buds. With the sushi and Asian-fusion crazes still underway, Chinese food seems to have become a little passé. Here’s what Warren Newcorn, the president of Newcorn Realty, a real estate broker specializing in restaurant leasing, had to say: “Chinese food is out of vogue. It contains a lot of sugar, and more and more health-minded and calorie-conscious New Yorkers are looking to alternative dining.”
Alan Chan, the general manager of restaurant Tse Yang, also told the Sun that consumers should expect more closings soon. “The gossip is that more restaurants will be going out in the near future. That’s not just Chinese restaurants, but restaurants in general,” he said. “Survival is just a lot tougher.” Poor Chinese restaurants. I know what I’m having for lunch.
Photo courtesy of dM.nyc is against Flickr censorship on Flickr