Chinatown may lose one of its most popular and enduring restaurants. Triple Crown Restaurant, the family-owned restaurant icon that’s served Cantonese cuisine and dim sum to generations of fans, is tangled in a landlord dispute which could end its 25-year run, according to owner Spencer Ng.
Originally founded in 1996 on 22nd Place by Ng’s mother, Triple Crown moved to its current location in 2009 at 2217 S. Wentworth Avenue. Beloved for its bustling atmosphere and extensive menu with a focus on southern Chinese seafood dishes, the restaurant pivoted to takeout and delivery during the pandemic. Ng and his team have also tried collaborations with local bartenders and companies like Party Can, a producer of pre-mixed margaritas, to boost sales. There was also a beer collaboration with Marz Community Brewing. Local chefs, especially those of Asian descent, worry about the neighborhoods future.
The loss of Triple Crown would come as yet another blow for the neighborhood, which was seeing change even before the pandemic. 2018 saw the closure of its oldest restaurant, 90-year-old Won Kow. During the pandemic, Asian restaurants also faced racist rhetoric. Triple Crown staff have received a stream of prank phone calls and verbal harassment related to COVID-19, Ng tells the Tribune.
Ng tells Eater that he disputes his landlord’s comments in the Tribune. He says his family has made rent payments over the last year. Triple Crown’s landlords filed a motion for use and occupancy in December; this is a move designed to recover back rent and a signal that eviction efforts could take time. A court date is scheduled for February 10.
And in other news...
— Denver media has caught wind of the arrival of chef Jacob Bickelhaupt, the former owner of the now-shuttered Stone Flower and Michelin-starred 42 Grams. In June 2017, Bickelhaupt closed 42 Grams, and a month later pled guilty to attacking his ex-wife. He opened Stone Flower in May 2019 and closed it last summer. Bickelhaupt moved to Denver over the summer and relaunched his dinner pop-ups. He tells Westword that in Chicago he “was 86ed — not everywhere, but in certain parts. It humbled my butt, it really did. It was frustrating, of course, because you want to provide, but it really humbled me.”
If you know someone or suspect someone is experiencing domestic violence, call the National Domestic Violence Hotline at (800) 799-7233 or call Connections for Abused Women and Their Children (CAWC) at (773) 278-4566. For emergencies, dial 911.
— Due to a shortage of cans, Hopewell Brewing is bidding a temporary farewell to its precious Lil’ Buddies — 8-ounce cans of lager perfect for a half-drink on a weeknight or Bloody Mary chaser, according to the Trib. Hopewell co-founder Samantha Lee told reporters the change comes much to the chagrin of local breweries who have made the diminutive containers a part of their brand.
— City officials have cited Miki’s Park, a Korean-American restaurant in River North, for violating pandemic rules by allowing 50 people inside the venue, failing to enforce social distancing or mask requirements, and operating after the 11 p.m. curfew, according to the The Department of Business Affairs and Consumer Protection (BACP). The restaurant was also cited for declining to answer questions, and thus interfering with BACP’s investigation.
— Educational non-profit Culinary Historians of Chicago has a solid lineup of virtual programs slated for February, March, and April. This month, pizza historian and researcher Peter Regas will share his “Thoughts on the Origins of Pizzerias in American and Chicago” at 7 p.m. on Thursday, February 11 via Zoom; celebrity chef Marcus Samuelsson at 5 p.m. on Monday, February 15 will also appear virtually.
— More than 30 restaurants and food businesses in Andersonville, Lincoln Square, and Ravenswood will participate in the first ever Coffee & Cocoa Crossover — a pandemic-era replacement for the community’s annual Coffee and Hot Cocoa Crawl. On February 19 and 20, participants can support cafes, coffee shops, and other local operations by purchasing packages featuring treats, mugs, keepsakes, and more. Participants include Kopi Cafe, 106 Restaurant, and First Slice Pie Cafe. More details are available online.