If you haven't already heard, Empress Pavilion locked its doors for the final time this past Sunday, evicted after operating in Chinatown for 24 years. For insiders, the shutter had hovered as a very real possibility for a while, as landlord and tenants struggled to reconcile issues related to building disrepair and overdue payments.
According to Daily Dish, the eviction came after the restaurant's owners, including Ricky Chan and Joe Lee, were unable to pay rent and meet the landlord's demands. The story goes on to report that, for his part, landlord Anek Bholsangngam was slow to address problems such as the broken outdoor escalator.
Empress Pavilion opened in 1989 and had maintained its pushcart tradition since the beginning. Until its recent closing, the restaurant had employed more than 100 people. In its heyday, the restaurant had helped quite a few Angelenos become acquainted with dim sum -- har gow, shu mai and the like. Even as San Gabriel Valley has grown in prominence as a new dim sum destination, Empress Pavilion remained a nostalgic favorite for some, and a more viable option for others looking to avoid a trip past the 110 just for a meal.
For a city accustomed to restaurant openings and closings, news of Empress Pavilion closure still hit a nerve, due in no small part to its near quarter-century run.
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