Seattle's Chinatown International District is losing one of its beloved restaurants in the coming weeks.
UPDATE ON 4/10/18:
Phnom Penh Noodle House will host its closing celebration on May 28, 2018, from 4 – 7 p.m.
After a little more than three decades, beloved community restaurant Phnom Penh Noodle House is closing its doors in May after a family emergency.
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Dawn and Darlene Ung, who manage the restaurant, came to the decision recently after Dawn’s son, Devin, was hit by a car in late September. Brain damage from the accident has meant continual medical care, and due to a slow healing process, his prognosis won’t be known until about a year out, Dawn said.
Since the accident, Dawn has had to withdraw from the restaurant and find a second job with health benefits, putting extra strain on Darlene, who has filled in at the restaurant. All of that, plus a changed perspective after a life-altering accident, led to the decision that it’s time for the restaurant to take a break.
Community members have shown support by creating a Facebook event urging friends and family to visit the restaurant. Devin’s GoFundMe page, created after his accident, is also still accepting donations.
Open since July 1987, the restaurant has withstood a building collapse and rising Seattle prices to share Cambodian food with the Chinatown International District. Sam Ung, who came to the United States with his wife to escape the Khmer Rouge in Cambodia, opened the restaurant and served as its executive chef before retiring in 2013.
Its final day of business is tentatively set for Monday, May 28, and a closing celebration in mid-May is in the works.
For those saddened by the restaurant’s closure, take heart in this small nugget of hope: “We have a great product, and the possibilities are endless,” says Diane Le, Dawn and Darlene’s sister. “Once we settle down … there could be something else for Phnom Penh on the horizon.”
For more of their story, read our previous Cheap Eats review of Phnom Penh Noodle House.