After 59 years in the restaurant business, Faye Hong, a community leader, finally closed Hong’s Garden Restaurant in Renton on Aug. 29.
Many customers dined at Hong’s Garden during the last two weeks, packing the restaurant during lunch and dinner. The Lui family went to dine at Hong’s on Aug. 29. All family members felt sad. The four siblings had worked at Hong’s Garden as hosts while going to college. Their mother also worked there as a waitress when Hong’s first opened in 1994.
Hong said it’s quite a challenge for Chinese restaurants to survive outside Chinatown and the International District. “When people want Chinese food, they rather go to Chinatown.”
“Young people don’t eat Chinese food that often,” he said. Even his son doesn’t like Chinese food, he added.
Hong is a respected leader in the Chinese community. He was the fundraising chair for the Seattle Chinese Historic Gate and also led a campaign for the Lee’s Family Association to buy its headquarter on Beacon Hill.
Hong owned the House of Hong from 1983-1993 and the Atlas from 1956 to 1983. His father founded Atlas and asked Hong, a Boeing engineer, to quit his job to help the family business.
Hong was supposed to retire after he sold the House of Hong in Chinatown. But his former employees urged Hong to open Hong’s Garden in 1994 so they could partner together. But the economy tumbled in 2008 and all partners left. Hong was stuck with the restaurant.
As of now, there is no potential buyer. Hong doesn’t want to work anymore, so he decided to close the restaurant before finding a buyer. The restaurant is for sale. Hong wants to retire before he turns 74 next month. (end)