A former chef at upscale Chinese spot Hakkasan is slated to open a new upscale venture in the iconic Empress of China space on the sixth floor of 838 Grant Avenue, which has sat empty for five years.
The Chronicle broke the news this week that Ho Chee Boon, who formerly served as the international executive chef of the Cantonese Hakkasan chain, will be opening Empress by Boon in the space in "early 2020," following a remodel by UK-based Atelier LLYS.
In addition to his work for Hakkasan, Boon is also known for helming the Michelin-starred dim sum restaurant chain Yauatcha, also owned by the Hakkasan Group. And word earlier this year from Empress of China building owner John Yee was that the space would be getting revived as a "modern day Hong Kong-style dim sum house."
The once glamorous, later kitschy Empress of China closed in 2014 after 47 years as a date destination for cocktails and neighborhood wedding reception venue. The quirky spot boasted views over North Beach and Chinatown, and as writer Jonathan Kauffman once gushed, "It is impossible not to love this place." At the time of the closing, Yee said the building was going to be converted to office use, but that has apparently not panned out.
Empress by Boon is set to use 7,500 square feet, per the Chronicle, which sounds like it could be more than one floor. But stay tuned.
Photo: Tim Parkinson/Flickr