I read in our local paper, The Chronicle (okay, I actually read it online, but I like calling it the local paper :) ) today and it said that another San Francisco “classic” is closing. So obviously, I clicked on the link to see what’s closing. You can read the article by Paolo Lucchesi HERE.
What is closing is Sam Wo (not to be confused with the chain Sam Woo), a dingy, cramped, dirty, but no doubt for some, also a nostalgic and historical restaurant in San Francisco’s Chinatown where some locals and curious tourists go to eat Chinese food made famous by luminaries like Herb Caen, Armistead Maupin, etc.
And the article also mentions a rude waiter named, Edsel Ford Fong, whom I have never met because he passed away in 1984 and I didn’t learn about this place until just a few years ago. From what I read about him, he’s quite a character.
Not sure if I actually would want to have someone like him to be my waiter, but I guess I will definitely remember the place and maybe that’s what made it so unforgettable and nostalgic for some. Also, having a restaurant that closes later than bars would also make it a popular spot I imagine.
The reason why I am posting about this is that while I love local history, I also embrace progress and living in the present moment.
From what I read in the article, one of the reasons why the restaurant is closing is because the building is really old and the owner will need to spend a lot of money updating everything to bring it up to code and modernize some areas like the kitchen.
Obviously, it will be hard to modernize and keep the “old” feel at the same time. So even if the owner of this place has the time and money to do such, the place isn’t the same anymore after such remodel.
For some, this place holds a lot of memories for them. Either that or it holds a spot for them to chow down at 3 a.m. For me, the only memory of this place is being brought here by my friend to try their chow fun and see the dumbwaiter (the contraption, not the waiter ;)).
And mostly, I am thankful that she also introduced me to this place’s history and in some way, that’s the most enjoyable part. To hear about the people that have been there before and perhaps that they ate the same things we have eaten and probably experienced the same feeling while walking up those narrow steps. I guess those things matter to me. It’s rather funny though since I have never even heard of this place before she took me there and I went to school in Chinatown when I was a kid. Sigh.
I am a bit sad to see any “classics” go, but I am also embracing the present moment in that we are making changes — and hopefully for the better.
Have a great Friday everyone.