News

Su Hong Menlo Park changes hands after 38 years

 

Su Hong To Go in Menlo Park, the longtime takeout Chinese-food favorite of generations of customers, has been sold, owner Bee King confirmed Monday.

King, who has been at the helm of the to-go outpost as well as a now-shuttered sit-down restaurant for more than three decades, has decided to retire.

After 38 years and working seven days a week, she feels it's time to "reserve some time" for herself, she said.

King sold the Menlo Avenue restaurant to a longtime local restaurant owner, Jason Kwan, who will keep the venerable Su Hong menu but change the name to Chef Kwan's.

Su Hong under King's ownership and the original name will cease to exist at the end of the month on Wednesday, Sept. 30.

King said two longtime managers are also retiring. Most employees will stay on with the new restaurant, but there will be a new chef, King said.

King said the decision was an emotional one, and leaving the generations of regular customers feels like saying goodbye to an "old friend."

See more on Elena Kadvany's Peninsula Foodist blog.

Comments

13 people like this
Posted by Ol' Homeboy
a resident of Menlo Park: Allied Arts/Stanford Park
on Sep 28, 2015 at 12:23 pm

Foster's Freeze and Su Hong to Go, both closing on Sept. 30th? What's next, Cook's Seafood jumping ship? Donald Trump elected to President?
Menlo Park hasn't helped sustain local small businesses for 40 years! It's sickening. I give Chef Kwan's six months, before it turns into another vacated M.P. hole.


9 people like this
Posted by Tarielle
a resident of Menlo Park: other
on Sep 28, 2015 at 12:28 pm

I too, am getting worried about our long time businesses leaving. There was also Nak's that left recently, an I worry that it is just too expensive to run a business in Menlo Park now. Some balance must be struck, or our town won't have any of the traditional places to eat or go anymore. We must also add low income housing and keep the workers for our long time favorites, and not expect them to commute in from Fresno for us.


24 people like this
Posted by Hmmm
a resident of another community
on Sep 28, 2015 at 12:46 pm

I understand how worrisome it can be to lose favorite places that have been around for decades. But these recent changes aren't due to Menlo being unsupportive. It's because *they've been around so long* - owners retire! Management retires or needs a change. I don't know how good the replacement place will be, but Kwan owning another Menlo business means he likely knows the community. Let's hope that bodes well. The Foster's owner needs to get outta dodge due to the cost of living. There's no evil master plan or dissing going on. It's aging business owners closing a chapter of their lives and opening a new chapter.


5 people like this
Posted by Local friend of MP
a resident of Portola Valley: Central Portola Valley
on Sep 28, 2015 at 1:07 pm

While I agree with "Hmmmm" that these 2 situations are not reflective of The town's support, one thing I think MP could make do was to improve the parking situation around Santa Cruz avenue. The parking spots are simply too small and even a small car is at risk of being dinged. I personally refrain from doing much shopping or eating in MP due to this risk.


7 people like this
Posted by Robert
a resident of Menlo Park: Downtown
on Sep 28, 2015 at 2:05 pm

Im shocked why all these businesses aren't waiting around for the wage hike, mandated sick (vacation) pay, new calorie count menus etc etc the regulation never stops in this state and its sucking the life out of our small businesses.

Hmmm for those who criticize these owners for having old outdated business well these are the people who have been the fabric of our community for decades sometimes working 7 days a week please treat them with respect they deserve unless you run a restaurant you have no right to judge except with your dollars.

My family has been proudly part of the Menlo restaurant community for over 50 years but with the onslaught of regulations coupled with the litigious environment of employing people in California has hastened the decision for many of us Restaurant owners to call it quits. The people of Menlo Park have been the wonderful how else do you explain being around for more then 50 years but sadly the trade off just isn't their anymore.


4 people like this
Posted by Menlo res
a resident of Menlo Park: other
on Sep 28, 2015 at 2:39 pm

I am, for one, not upset to see old businesses of Menlo park retire. It is a well know fact that downtown Menlo Park is old and needs a lift. It is a shame that the new businesses don't last. These are the ones that need motivation to kee going. Not the older ones. I can't wait to see places like Dreaggers retire as well. Time to bring dynamics and young spirits to town and spice it up! I hate to see Downtown Menlo Park dead by 9pm!


15 people like this
Posted by Ol' Homeboy
a resident of Menlo Park: Allied Arts/Stanford Park
on Sep 28, 2015 at 3:23 pm

Menlo res —
Sorry for my banter, but I need to stick-up for my town. When you write,"It is a well known fact that downtown Menlo Park is old and needs a lift." — Who are you speaking for? If you've lived in this town for any length of time, you'd know that this town has always rolled-up by 9:00 — excluding the British Banker's Club in its heyday. This has always been a family-centric town — meaning families are home, together, in the evenings. If you want nightlife action, all you have to do is drive one mile to University Ave. in Palo Alto.
When or if it does change, I and a lot of other life-long residents, will sell our $250,000 homes for $3 million and move somewhere that respects quality family-time and long-time merchants.
By the way, Draeger's Market has been serving Menlo Park since 1956 and it's been the model for every upscale market on the Peninsula, ie: Andronico's & Bianchini's





1 person likes this
Posted by Bill
a resident of Menlo Park: Stanford Hills
on Sep 28, 2015 at 7:14 pm

And Vietnam Restaurant on Doyle closed 10 years ago. It was the only place to get Pho outside of San Jose for decades, opening in 1975.

1975-2005, RIP Vietnam Restaurant.


4 people like this
Posted by Hmmm
a resident of another community
on Sep 28, 2015 at 7:52 pm

Robert - you may want to re-read my post. In no way was I disrespecting the decisions of these restaurant owners who are making big life changes. For some reason, others seem to insist that rising commercial rents and uninterrupted change are behind these closures, when that's incorrect.


7 people like this
Posted by Local fan
a resident of another community
on Sep 28, 2015 at 10:34 pm

So, the owner wants to retire after 38 years of working 7 days per week and people feel that the city should find a way to legislate and prevent this? Unless the city discovers the fountain of youth, everyone should thank the owner for years of fabulous service and greet the new owner. I've always been a fan and customer of su hong but I completely respect the owner's decision to retire.


2 people like this
Posted by need to protect retail
a resident of Menlo Park: Allied Arts/Stanford Park
on Sep 29, 2015 at 8:28 am

I agree with "ol' home boy". Menlo Park has always been a family-oriented town with little night life. It is a natural part of the restaurant business for owners to retire, and for new chefs and owners to come in. Part of the reasons Menlo Park is not lively, however, is that there are banks and offices at ground level. These are dead spaces in the evenings.
What the city can do to improve liveliness and protect restaurants is to require first-level stores and restaurants - or personal services (think nail salons, dry cleaners) - downtown and on El Camino. Only on Santa Cruz does the zoning require shops or restaurants; even then, the city has bent the rules to allow some realtors there. If offices are not allowed where we want shops and places to eat, then the building owners won't charge office rents to businesses that can't afford them.


4 people like this
Posted by Jon Castor
a resident of Woodside: Woodside Heights
on Sep 29, 2015 at 10:36 am

Jon Castor is a registered user.

Many thanks to Bee King and the Su Hong chef and team for countless tasty meals!


5 people like this
Posted by I didn't know that
a resident of Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
on Sep 29, 2015 at 12:15 pm

Tarielle:

You write "Some balance must be struck, or our town won't have any of the traditional places to eat or go anymore. We must also add low income housing and keep the workers for our long time favorites, and not expect them to commute in from Fresno for us." While adding low income housing is a noble idea it has nothing to do with Menlo Park's downtown businesses. One has to go only 1 mile south to University Avenue in Palo Alto, as Ol' Homeboy writes, to find a thriving downtown. There are plenty of workers around - Menlo Park just doesn't have the businesses for them to work in.


5 people like this
Posted by PA raised
a resident of Menlo Park: The Willows
on Sep 29, 2015 at 12:21 pm

@Menlo res and Homeboy

I grew up in Palo Alto where it too rolled up at 9 pm and homes were inexpensive. Now, 40+ years later, it stays open late and a modest home costs a fair bit more than a similar one in Menlo Park. Having been living in MP for over 12 years and watched home prices skyrocket (yay!) I see that downtown MP will go, over the next 30 years, as Palo Alto has - open late, with restaurants and bars and stores downtown. I say this simply due to market conditions - MP is still affordable (don't laugh- it is all relative) so those places will come here rather than PA or say SF. So, let folks retire and sell and let change continue. This rising tide will help us all.


3 people like this
Posted by Tarielle
a resident of Menlo Park: other
on Sep 29, 2015 at 12:41 pm

To I didn't know that: You wrote that "While adding low income housing is a noble idea it has nothing to do with Menlo Park's downtown businesses" I will ask you how much do you think service workers at Menlo Park's downtown businesses get paid? When restaurant and office staff get $10 to $15 an hour for part time work with no benefits, they are driven out of town for housing options. And thank you Ol' Homeboy for honoring our local heritage and businesses that have been around for decades. They must be doing well to last that long, and now they can't afford to keep their businesses and pass them on to the next generation. Look how many are leaving more because they can't afford to stay here, rather than because they want to retire.


5 people like this
Posted by Ethan H.
a resident of Menlo Park: South of Seminary/Vintage Oaks
on Sep 29, 2015 at 12:50 pm

To PA Raised: When one boots out the older generation you cut your own ties to wisdom and knowledge, and kick grandma to the curb. Do you want older homeowners to move to the valley after all they have put into Menlo Park? Why would we boot out 60 year residents? Do we really want another Redwood City outcome? It too, used to roll up the sidewalks early, and now there is such a building boom that it is frightening. Crime has risen, gangs of teens hang out until well past midnight in downtown Redwood City, and this isn't what I invision for Menlo Park. Palo Alto has the college crowd, and way more police calls downtown, I've noticed. I for one don't want another clone of PA or RC.


5 people like this
Posted by Keeves
a resident of Menlo Park: other
on Sep 29, 2015 at 12:57 pm

To: I didn't know that:

You stated that: "There are plenty of workers around - Menlo Park just doesn't have the businesses for them to work in." So I ask you: What kind of workers work at the Menlo Park businesses now? Are you not including restaurant workers, salon workers, store clerks, receptionists, and all service workers? These are all low paying jobs, and there are many of these positions in downtown. Let's not forget all these people need affordable housing, and are the backbone of any community. We aren't just a high end high tech world.


4 people like this
Posted by matt
a resident of Atherton: West of Alameda
on Sep 29, 2015 at 3:36 pm

Look not to sound harsh here, but the main reason these old school places close is because they don't have enough customers. And it's reasonable to conclude that they don't have enough customers because they're not very good.


Like this comment
Posted by need to protect retail
a resident of Menlo Park: Allied Arts/Stanford Park
on Sep 29, 2015 at 6:03 pm

@ matt: most of the businesses that have closed are because the owner retired. Not at all that there weren't customers. Su Hong is wildly popular.
More residents helps the most - residents eat 3 meals every day of the week (maybe only one away at work), buy things at hardware and dress shops and grocery store. teach ESL, coach basketball, donate to school foundations, elect leaders.
Can you say that about more office workers who only eat lunch and clog our streets?

We need it all, and we need it in healthy balance. We're losing retail to offices. That's not good. The more housing here, the more "affordable" it is going to be for workers and our children who will be priced out.


1 person likes this
Posted by Mike Keenly
a resident of Menlo Park: Allied Arts/Stanford Park
on Sep 29, 2015 at 11:14 pm

Hopefully the new owner will change the menu and the decor enough to attract a customer who wants something more healthy and authentic.


2 people like this
Posted by I didn't know that
a resident of Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
on Sep 30, 2015 at 7:00 am

Keeves:

The point I was trying to make was that there are plenty of workers around - witness how many people are employed in Palo Alto's bustling night life. It's not up to Menlo Park to provide affordable housing. If our downtown were like Palo Alto's the same pool of workers that are working in Palo Alto would find work in Menlo Park too.


Like this comment
Posted by Hmmm
a resident of another community
on Sep 30, 2015 at 11:57 am

I didn't know that - actually, Menlo literally does need to provide affordable housing: Web Link


Like this comment
Posted by False Dilemma
a resident of Menlo Park: University Heights
on Oct 2, 2015 at 12:34 am

To the folks who are worried that more development means downtown Menlo will turn into Palo Alto or Redwood City -- both of which I agree are becoming / have become a bit crazy: you are offering a false choice between the current sleepy town we have and a crazy future. There is a happy medium embodied by downtown Los Altos. Locals suffered through a few years of construction but now enjoy a very family oriented community, much improved from several years ago... Not too boring anymore. Not too crazy like Palo Alto or REdwood City. It has become a charming place and I find myself now spending more time and money there despite the extra driving.


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