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Chop Suey Café Bites The Dust

Sad but I guess it's not surprising given the bad reception given on this board. I guess it's only chance was to make it as a hangout and it just didn't work.

http://www.ladowntownnews.com/article...

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  1. My friend is the guy in the middle.

    Love the guy and the bar, but the restaurant was horrid. (Well, it started out ok but went downhill fast)

    2 Replies
    1. re: ns1

      I thought he was my friend too until he said I should have become an investor and dissed me because I didn't.

    2. Knowing the situation during the remodel and the new owners it was a matter of time. It was doomed before they opened since they couldnt' use the original name Far East Cafe and/or get the original recipes. Only thing that resembled the original Far East Cafe was the physical place and you can't build a business on those memories.

      People wonder why there was no Tofu Festival this year?......because the organizing group Little Tokyo Service Center (LTSC) should concentrate their efforts on providing services for the community and not into business opportunities.

      There's always Paul's Kitchen downtown if you want food and memories.

      1. So is the place over on Ceasar Chavez, run by the nephew of original Far East, New Formosa Cafe still in business or did their failing health catch up to them? I hope they are still there.

        1 Reply
        1. re: Burger Boy

          Had lunch at King Taco a few Saturday's ago and looked like New Formosa Cafe was still closed. Dewey is the son of the original owner of the Far East Cafe. His wife Betty was the one who told me the Chop Suey Cafe people came by to eat and try and get their recipes and they didn't give them up.

        2. Downtown News blows it bigtime -- Chop Suey Cafe has closed for lunch only but is still open for dinner:

          http://blogdowntown.com/2008/11/3820-...

          Proving that Downtown News is as good a newspaper as Chop Suey Cafe is a Chinese restaurant.

          2 Replies
          1. re: maxzook

            Well, that's a bit harsh re: Downtown News.

            Downtown News is a free fishwrap.

            I wouldn't eat at Chop Suey Cafe even if the food was free.

            1. re: ipsedixit

              I tried using Downtown News as a fishwrap, but the fish objected.

          2. Did anyone actually read the article rather than just the headline? It has extensive quotes from one of the owners and in no way states that they are permanently and totally closed. Talks about closing the main dining room for remodeling, new concept etc. And that the Far Bar remains open.

            8 Replies
            1. re: mlgb

              So has anyone actually gone by in the evening to see if it's still open? I don't understand why the owners would tell the newspaper it's closed and then tell the blog it's open?

              1. re: Chowpatty

                The owners only said that the main dining room would be closed for remodeling. The bar is supposedly open.

              2. re: mlgb

                My post was based on the hard copy of Downtown News and everything I read on the front page made it sound like the place was kaput. Also, see L.A. Eater's first take on the story, where they seem to view the future plans as a different venture.

                http://la.eater.com/archives/2008/11/...

                1. re: Chandavkl

                  Assuming the fishwrap edition is the same as the online, the article is very badly written, starting with the headline "Chop Suey Cafe Chopped Down -- Landmark Little Tokyo Restaurant Closes Two Years After Celebrated Revival":

                  http://www.downtownnews.com/articles/...

                  The opening graf states flat-out that the place is closing; you have to get more than halfway through before you get to this:

                  "'We just decided to close and start from scratch and cut our losses because we weren't getting the numbers,' said Enrique Ramirez, who co-owns the restaurant with Don Tahara and Mike Gin."

                  A few grafs later Ramirez is talking about a new menu and "a new vision," but nowhere is it clarified that the place is remaining open in any format.

                  1. re: maxzook

                    Emphasis on the word "currently". Also note that the article says several times that the dining room has been closed for a while.

                    "Now, Ramirez said, they have a new vision. "We want to make it more of a loungey, bar atmosphere at night, convert it into more of a nightspot," he said. "We do also want to go back to opening for lunch."

                    The new menu, Ramirez said, will consist largely of the sushi rolls and small pan-Asian plates currently served at the restaurant's adjacent Far Bar, as well as quick salads and sandwiches for the lunchtime crowd. The owners hope to open for dinner within three months, and lunch after that."

                    Sometimes you do have to read carefully, rather than just the headline and hook.

                    1. re: mlgb

                      Easier to do on the online version. The qualifying language was on another page in the print edition.

                      1. re: Chandavkl

                        Is it that hard to turn the page? Perhaps LA Eater should have done the same before broadcasting something not entirely correct.

                        At any rate good luck to the owners and hopefully they come up with a menu that works. Maybe they need to give Gordon a call.

                        1. re: mlgb

                          Everytime I walk by I can't help but think of how perfect that place is for a GR makeover

              3. yeah, it sounded like a good idea but turned out to be one of the most sterile menus around.

                1 Reply
                1. re: alkylyou

                  A lot of local Japanese Americans looked forward to the reopening of Little Tokyo's fabled and beloved Far East Cafe. More than just the food, the old chinameshi-ya conjured up a lot of history and fond memories for Nikkei baby boomers.
                  After all, we were all born, married and died there eating almond duck, pakkai and hom-yu with huge bowls of steaming long-grain.
                  "Chop Suey" is a crass copy, so we're staying away. You gotta pay your dues to cruise J-town, baby.
                  Let Far East RIP, alongside Matsuno Sushi, San Kuo Low and the rest of once secret places that we so cherished. We're beginning to accept that we can never get the old Little Tokyo back. Japanese America is clearly going extinct.
                  As for latecomers like the Tofu Festival, that's a whole other story, featuring Japanese Americans who put butter on their gohan and sugar into their matcha.
                  Gohantabeyoka?