Chinatown legend Won Kow closing it’s doors after 90 years Wikimedia Commons

It’s a sad sad day for the locals of Chicago and nearby Chinatown residents. The local favorite, considered a legend among most, Won Kow is closing for business after 90 years of operating and serving up delicious Asian cuisine. Luckily, it’s not for any health code violation reasons, or bankruptcy reasons, or bad reasons at all.

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According to the owner, there was no one to take over the restaurant after him and that while it had had a good run, it was time to close.

A sign on the window reads “We appreciate all the business that you have given us over the years. We hope that you have enjoyed dining here as much as we have enjoyed serving you.”

The oldest restaurant in Chicago’s Chinatown closed last week after 90 years on the South Side. Won Kow Restaurant, the once-bustling spot in the heart of Chicago’s Chinese community, closed on February 1. Signage at the restaurant read that the owner had decided to retire.

Won Kow was a community staple for nine decades at it’s home address of 2237 S. Wentworth Avenue. Business and residents have certainly not helped this cause, they shifted north to the intersection of Archer and Wentworth. There’s also more interest in Chinatown Square — the two-story outdoor mall.

There are some reports that claim Won’s was opened in 1927, others say it was 1928. Customers would haul up the stairs to find a massive dining room. Bartenders served large tiki-like drinks as diners enjoyed dim sum.

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This makes Orange Garden the oldest continuously operated Chinese restaurant in Chicago. Tony Shu, president of the Chinatown Chamber of Commerce, said he was surprised by the closing and called it a loss, but he wished the family the best.

“We’re sad to see them go because it is an icon in the Chinatown community,” Shu said.

Mariana writes for Rare Chicago.
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