Jing Fong Permanently Closes its Chinatown Banquet Hall After 43 Years on Elizabeth Street

Posted on: February 20th, 2021 at 8:21 am by

Photo: Karlin Chan

Chinatown locals welcomed the news of iconic Pearl River Mart finding a new home, but another Chinatown mainstay is downsizing in a major way.

Late yesterday afternoon, Jing Fong restaurant took the community by surprise with an announcement that its indoor dining floor is permanently closing down March 7. It will, however, continue service from the second-floor kitchen for the patio, takeout, and delivery “until further notice.”

Jing Fong, a neighborhood staple and tourist attraction since 1978, has operated in the same location for decades and was the setting for many a wedding. But its importance to Chinatown goes well beyond. As the last remaining large scale venue able to accommodate parties or functions up to 900 persons, its loss will drive another proverbial nail into the coffin.

Gone will be long lines of visitors and locals waiting for a table to enjoy Dim Sum, and the tourist dollars spent in Chinatown. Gone also will be a venue for the many fundraising functions held by CBO’s and traditional family associations during Chinese festivals and holidays.

The ongoing pandemic has crippled Chinatown businesses, yes; but the Jing Fong closure is by far the biggest loss to date. Ongoing indoor dining restrictions and limited inside seating available, the banquet hall was hard-pressed to pay rent or meet payrolls. And without adequate Government response to help small business and landlords, many more face the same fate.

Jing Fong will undoubtedly look to maintain a presence in Chinatown, yet seems unlikely they’ll find a home comparable to its current cavernous space.  Meanwhile, will promised aid from Washington in it’s new proposed round of stimulus package actually reach the small businesses the original package last year intended or will it get swallowed up by big business again?

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