Another longtime SF institution isn't waiting around to see what happens when people are allowed to dine indoors again. Ton Kiang, which has been serving excellent dim sum and fried chicken wings for four decades on Geary Boulevard, is calling it quits on August 30.
"Thank you for your years of support," reads a note at the front of the restaurant posted to Twitter over the weekend. "We will be closed for good on August 30, Sunday, at 7:30 p.m. Best wishes to all!"
According to the restaurant's owners, the Wong family, the place had been in operations at 5821 Geary Boulevard and previously in Chinatown for a total of 42 years.
Another note on the front door, posted to Eater today, reads, "We are sad and sorry that it is time to say zai jian (until we meet again)... Over the years, you shared your weddings and anniversaries with us, celebrated and had us host you life passages and family gatherings... We will always treasure these moments and value your friendship."
The reasons for the closure include the difficulties of hiring and retaining staff right now, and a decision by 63-year-old second-generation owner, Richard Wong, to retire. As Wong tells Eater, the pandemic simply sped up his already-in-place exit plan. "It takes a lot of energy to run a good restaurant," Wong says. "I don’t think I have that much energy left."
Wong's parents originally opened Ton Kiang in Chinatown in 1978. And the restaurant was featured in a 1982 New York Times piece about the variety of regional Chinese cuisine available in San Francisco, and about the then-recent trend of Chinese restaurants opening in the Richmond District, "a far-west enclave that San Franciscans call the ''New Chinatown.'" It has remained a mainstay on "Best Dim Sum" lists in SF ever since, including SFist's own.
As Hoodline notes, it was not uncommon to see weekend lines out the door at Ton Kiang, pre-COVID, and the restaurant specialized in both dim sum and Hakka-style Chinese cuisine. And while the takeout business had been decent, virtually no full-service restaurant in the city is thriving as a takeout-only business right now — most are just skating by, or operating at a loss.
The team will continue to serve takeout food through the end of the month, so get some pot stickers and salt-and-pepper chicken wings while you still can by placing an order here.
Top image: Yelp