Friday, June 21, 2024

[CLOSURE ALERT] Chef Wang's to Shutter in Grant Park After Just One Year in Business

Chef Wang's in Grant Park is closing.  The restaurant, located in the 65 unit Oakland Park condominium building (563 Memorial Drive), opened this past July when it replaced Doc Chey's Noodle House.

Owner Charles Wang retained several items from the Doc Chey's menu and introduced some new items as well.  The moderately priced, casual eatery had good visibility along Memorial Drive but never seemed to catch on with the local community.  

"I come from a family of restauranteurs. This restaurant is named after my grandfather who was a chef for the first President of Taiwan. My parents, aunts, and uncles immigrated to the US and were co-owners of the original Panda Inn (that eventually turned into Panda Express) and opened over a dozen restaurants," Wang says in the "About Us" section of the restaurant's website.  

Wang, who according to his LinkedIn profile held a variety of marketing roles outside of the restaurant industry before opening Chef Wang's, first took to a neighborhood Facebook group in late January to convey what was already a dire situation.  

"Since we have taken over Doc Chey's and renamed the restaurant Chef Wang's in July we have seen well over a 50% drop in sales. Despite our best efforts our sales have never recovered. We have maintained a similar menu, retained the same staff but many customers have simply never returned. Over the last 7 months, we have absorbed six figures losses and it's not sustainable for us to operate in the red like this much longer. Other restaurants on Memorial Drive have already closed their doors in recent months due to escalating rent, labor costs, food costs and other financial headwinds. 

We are taking one last chance at seeing if we can keep our doors open and will be rolling back prices to pre pandemic rates (20% off) our entire menu (call-in, dine-in, take-out only) starting this Wednesday January 24th until the end of February with the hopes this brings more of you back. 

Without the support from this community, there will be few if any independent restaurants in these neighborhoods in the near future. You all work hard for your money and you can vote with your wallet."

It seems things never got tremendously better and that the recent water main breaks that forced many restaurants to temporarily close were perhaps the final nail in their proverbial coffin.  

Wang took to the same Facebook group late Friday saying: 

"It is with profound sadness that I announce the imminent closing of Chef Wang's in Grant Park. Our last day of business will be Sunday, July 14th. We gave it our all but unfortunately it is financially untenable to continue operations. We would like to thank every guest who has dined with us over the past 12 months and before when it operated under the Doc Chey's brand.  We are truly appreciative of every guest who dines with us and I hope this was evident whenever you visited us. I hope that you will make a visit to Chef Wang’s before we close forever to enjoy your favorite meal or even just to say hello (or goodbye)."

Although Doc Chey's was the most recent occupant before Chef Wang's, the space first debuted in 2008 as Stella Neighborhood Trattoria.  Richard Chey, owner of both Doc Chey's and Stella, converted the roughly 4,000 square foot restaurant to his namesake Asian eatery in 2010.  

Did you ever dine at Chef Wang's?  Why do you think Chef Wang's never found a consistent following in Grant Park?  What would you like to see open in place of Chef Wang's in Grant Park?

Please share your thoughts below. 

4 comments:

Anonymous said...

Very sad. I had some good times at Doc Chey's. Great food with great friends.

Charles said...

Thanks for writing this up. Just wanted to add we will be open in July. Our last day will be July 14th.

Anonymous said...

Noodles Etc was also good.

Anonymous said...

I went there once. I hate to say it… it was just not that great. I wish them well

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