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 To Go first opened on Menlo Avenue in downtown Menlo Park in 1991. Photo by Michelle Le/The Almanac.
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 owner, 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."
"I remember a long time ago when the little customers, like 5 years old (came in) … now they bring their own 5 year olds to have our food," she said. "It's like an old friend. I miss them a lot."
She said some customers have cried after hearing the news this week. She's also received numerous calls since posting a message about the ownership change in the restaurant just yesterday, Sept. 27.
The sit-down Su Hong restaurant first opened at 1039 El Camino Real in 1977. Five years later, another location opened in Palo Alto, which is still in operation though under independent ownership.
Su Hong To Go opened at 630 Menlo Ave. in 1991 "to serve the ever-increasing number of repeat customers with to-go orders," the restaurant's website reads.
The sit-down restaurant suddenly closed for remodeling in 2012 and never reopened, bringing much traffic to the to-go location about a block away. King said that Kwan will also take over the original El Camino Real space and possibly open a dim-sum restaurant there. A fictitious business name statement was filed in August for the location under the name "Yum Cha Palace."
The new owner of Su Hong, Jason Kwan, in the to-go location on Menlo Avenue. Photo by Michelle Le/The Almanac.
For years, customers have repeatedly voted Su Hong as Menlo Park's "Best Chinese restaurant" in the Almanac's annual Best Of competition. Su Hong To Go won the takeout category this year. The restaurant, which serves Mandarin- and Szechwan-style food, is locally world-famous for its General's Chicken, potstickers, Chinese chicken salad and more.