The neon wings may stop flapping for good on San Jose’s Japantown.
Wing’s, the city’s oldest full-service restaurant, marked by that historic sign, has quietly closed its doors.
“It’s very sad,” building owner Louis Wang said Monday. “After 94 years, last night will probably be the last night of operation” as a restaurant.
He said Ashley Wu and family, who ran the Jackson Street restaurant, decided not to give advance notice of the shutdown so as to avoid the crowds that overwhelmed the place in 2017, when there was a short shutdown before a new lease was signed.
“It’s a great location,” Wang said, “but the building is very old.”
Estimates for bringing the 1925 building up to current standards range from $140,000 for ADA work to $500,000 to $600,000 for a full remodeling, he said.
“Right now, at this point, I don’t have anyone willing to pay that.”
Over the years, customers have spoken wistfully of the frozen-in-time setting that would be lost if the restaurant shuttered. One wrote on Yelp: “From the beaded curtains for the booths to the flocked velvet wallpaper and push buttons to ring for service from the privacy of your booth, no other restaurant I’ve been in would work as well as a film noir set.”
Wing’s has been owned by just a handful of families over the years. According to Mercury News archives, Wing’s opened in 1925 and was run for 25 years by Wing Chen. Then the Wing’s baton passed to Henry Wong, who sold it in 1976 to brothers Louis and David Wang. They operated the restaurant for decades and, according to city property records, David Wang is the current owner of the building.
Although Wing’s is the oldest full-service restaurant in San Jose, the Chiaramonte deli and sausage shop is older. That store dates to 1908.
After 94 years, Wing’s Chinese in San Jose may have closed for good