Palo Alto: Ming's Restaurant to close Dec. 28

Extended-stay hotel and smaller Chinese restaurant are planned

The absolute last serving of Ming's famous Chinese chicken salad will be Dec. 28. That's the day that Ming's Restaurant, Palo Alto's oldest and largest Chinese restaurant, will close its doors to make way for an extended stay hotel and a newer, smaller Chinese restaurant.

Located at 1700 Embarcadero Road, the 10,000-square-foot restaurant is finally and firmly scheduled to be demolished after months of delays.

Ming's owner Vicky Ching had expected her restaurant to shutter earlier this year, first in March, then in June, but because of a combination of factors, which included financing and the weather, the closing was delayed until now.

Once the current site is leveled, new construction is expected to take about two years.

Ming's has occupied a corner on Embarcadero Road at East Bayshore Road, just east of U.S. 101, since 1967, but its history in Palo Alto dates back to 1956.

Originally on El Camino Real across from Stanford University, it was a subsidiary of Johnny Kan's famed Chinatown eatery. Many of the original recipes, such as Ming's beef, Chinese chicken salad and Peking duck, survive to this day.

Plans to replace the landmark restaurant have been in the works for years.

"We chose extended-stay over a traditional hotel because we're so close to the freeway and we don't have a downtown address, so we were advised that extended-stay would be the best choice for this location," Ching told the Weekly last year."We're hoping this type of hotel will appeal to a variety of people, including temporary Stanford faculty and Stanford hospital patients and family."

Ching also noted an influx of Asian tourists in this area and said she thinks an extended-stay hotel would be a good option for them. The four-story, 177-room hotel will have underground parking.

Along with the hotel, a new Ming's about one-third the size of the current one will also be developed. Although it will be attached to the hotel, it will be run independently.

"We will have seating for about 150 diners, compared to now, where we have seating for 500," Ching said, adding that the menu will be much smaller and have fusion items. "But we'll still hang on to the old Ming's favorites, like Chinese chicken salad and dim sum dishes."

Ching's decision to move ahead with the major transformation is a direct result of the changing workplace.

"Lunch used to be our biggest business, but things are different now. Our restaurant has suffered because so many companies now provide free food to their employees. Look around us. Google, Facebook, LinkedIn and so many others all offer lunch in their own facilities. So we needed to adjust for that," she said.

Related content:

Shop Talk: Ming's still open (June 2014)

Shop Talk: Major Shakeup planned at Ming's (March 2013)

New hotel to rise over the Baylands (April 2010)

Review: Dynasty-scale dining (March 2007)

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1 person likes this
Posted by MingsFan
a resident of Mountain View
on Dec 18, 2014 at 7:40 pm

Sad to see my favorite Chinese restaurant close for awhile, but glad they found a way to stay in business in that location. I look forward to dining there again when they re-open, and will try to make it over there by the 28th for one more dim sum lunch!

6 people like this
Posted by chicken salad
a resident of Menlo Park
on Dec 18, 2014 at 8:08 pm

Why don't the restaurant owners operate Mings at a different location while construction is completed? Two years is a long time to keep a business closed.

That way, patrons might still enjoy their favorite dishes, some staff (at least) could keep their present jobs, and management would work out the kinks of downsizing, new menu, etc.

Make the temporary and rebuilt restaurants friendlier to take-out orders, too!

1 person likes this
Posted by Hulkamania
a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Dec 19, 2014 at 9:57 am

Hulkamania is a registered user.

chicken salad sez, "Make the temporary and rebuilt restaurants friendlier to take-out orders, too!"

Chef Chu's at El Camino and San Antonio has great take-out.

1 person likes this
Posted by 37 year resident
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Dec 19, 2014 at 11:04 am

If you want authentic Cantonese Food, try Hong Kong Seafood on El Camino just south of Page Mill Road. They are consistently good and have fixed price menus starting at around $40.00 that will feed 4-6 people. Most of the clientele is Chinese. Try it once and you'll continue to go back. No deference to Ming's, but they and Chef Chu cater to Caucasian tastes. Hong Kong is the real deal.

1 person likes this
Posted by Retired Teacher
a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Dec 19, 2014 at 11:05 am

So does Su Hong in Menlo Park...

1 person likes this
Posted by Barron Park dad
a resident of Barron Park
on Dec 19, 2014 at 11:31 am

Along the same lines as Hong Kong Seafood (that is, authentic Cantonese cooking) is R&B Seafood on El Camino across from Stanford University.

Like this comment
Posted by Jo Ann
a resident of Embarcadero Oaks/Leland
on Dec 19, 2014 at 11:37 am

Any nearby dim sum recommendations?

For non-dim sum, we also like Dah Sichaun on El Camino south of Page Mill, and Fey in Menlo Park, also on ECR. R&B Seafood (ECR, Palo Alto north of Cal Ave) is good but recommend getting there early enough before they run out of the specials.

I miss the old Hunan Gardens which was our go-to Chinese restaurant.

1 person likes this
Posted by KP
a resident of South of Midtown
on Dec 19, 2014 at 4:22 pm

KP is a registered user.

Love Mings and happy for Vicky and her husband for their new venture.
Although, before Google, FB LinkedIn, etc. had their facilities, those people weren't around to eat at the local restaurants anyway. I am not sure why they all claim that these companies took their customers. The employees to these companies came when the company that offers free food came...Just saying.

4 people like this
Posted by Sindy
a resident of East Palo Alto
on Dec 19, 2014 at 9:08 pm

GURRRRR..... Sigh.... More traffic ..... now it will take even longer getting to through this intersection to get to my home.

Every year or two it is a new building.. more traffic....and longer drive...
How about driving our route every week day after the school lets out... all the way till 7pm it is clogged with stop and go.

What happened to environmental concerns regarding the valuable Marsh Land?

Oh Well...........

2 people like this
Posted by SCB94303
a resident of Adobe-Meadow
on Dec 19, 2014 at 9:52 pm

SCB94303 is a registered user.

@Retired Teacher, the sit-down restaurant of Su Hong in Menlo Park has been closed for years; now there is only Su Hong To Go on the block behind its previous location.

Like this comment
Posted by musical
a resident of Palo Verde
on Dec 20, 2014 at 1:18 am

Will they ever update their website? No indication of shut-down.

3 people like this
Posted by veggie
a resident of another community
on Dec 20, 2014 at 11:30 am

I used to work nearby and would sometimes get lunch since there are few other options in the area. Their food really isn't that great. And I pointed out to them several times that their "vegetarian lunch box" shouldn't contain chicken salad, but they don't seem to get it.

Sorry, but further commenting on this topic has been closed.

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