Iconic Wing’s Chinese Restaurant Closes After 94 Years in Business

San Jose’s oldest full-service eatery is gone for good.

Wing’s Chinese Restaurant—known for its neon marquee with wings that actually flapped—served up Mandarin and Szechwan fare from the time it opened in Japantown in 1925 until its final closure this past weekend.

KCBS, which broke the news today, called the shutdown unexpected, although its lease at 131 Jackson St. had been up for some time.

“I just let our friends and best customers know,” owner Ashley Yu told the radio station.

She said she didn’t want her staff to be overwhelmed by customers as they tried to wind things down, which is what happened when they nearly went out of business in 2017.

Building owner Louis Wang told the Merc this morning that the cost of renovating the 1925 building—which is known for its iconic neon Wing’s sign—could run up to $600,000. He expressed doubt that anyone would be willing to fork out that kind of cash.

8 Comments

  1. I was fortunate to have known the owner of “Wings” [Le Ong-No disrespect for misspelling his name] and his two sons [David and Louis] who helped run the restaurant. For many years I feasted at “Wings” restaurant in Japan-Town. When he passed, his son’s took over and the tradition of the finest Chinese food in District 3 continued. When the brothers left, the food just was never the same.

    District 3 has (or had) some of the finest restaurants in San José. Both Guadalajara #1 & #2 produced the finest burritos known to humankind especially, Guadalajara #2. I was fortunate to know Juan and his wife who fed countless thousands with their fine Mexican food but my focus was on their burritos. When Juan passed, the city honored his achievements and his wife was present during the ceremony. His wife ran the business for a while and then she sold the business to someone else. The business closed sometime after, once again, the food (in my case the burritos) were “never the same.”

    Both Wings and Guadalajara #2 have “Iconic” art work. The “Wings” sign should be bought and preserved by the City. The mural above Guadalajara#2’s storefront was painted by my friend “Eddie” who I took chemistry classes with at San José State. “Eddie” told me he painted the eyes of “little-girl-in-the-boat” so that at any angle a person looked at the mural, the “little-girl” was staring right back at you.”Eddie” went on to get a Ph.D. in Chemistry while I faded into obscurity.

    There are other “Iconic” restaurants in District 3 that deserve respectful mention.
    The “flagship” of District 3 cuisine is “Original Joe’s.” No one does Italian food better than Joe’s. The dinner salads, minestrone soup, raviolis, spaghetti with mushrooms, breaded veal swimming in a sea of Milanese sauce, the cheesecakes, the coffee…and the list goes on for infinity. “O.J.’s” also has an “Iconic” sign.

    Teske’s Germania (on N. 1st Street, right across the street from the Working Man’s Emporium, where I bought my bib-overalls from Gary) is yet another “Iconic” restaurant. Claus and Scott knew I would order anything but Jägerschnitzel mit Spätzle with an extra carafe of mushroom sauce (with two half-liters of Oktoberfest beer over the course of the feast.)

    Back to Japan Town. Right next to “Wings” on N. [email protected] Street is the finest Mexican cuisine in all of San José where District 3 lucks out again. “La Corona” is owned and operated Jesus and his family. They always treated me as one of their own and I feasted there many, many, many times.

    Just down the block, on the other side of Jackson Street, Tsugaru is the finest Japanese food anywhere in San José. This is the only restaurant that changed chef-owners and the food was the same if not better. It too has an “Iconic” sign.

    KCBS just mentioned the passing of “Wings.” “Wings” passed away a long time ago.

    I hope the San José Police will “keep-an-eye” trained on the “Wings” sign until the city takes this sign into protective art history custody. Someone is bound to steal it or worse.

    David S. Wall

  2. Sure it has nothing to do with min wage going to $15 a hour. Hard to staff a place when you don’t make any money

  3. Iconic/Ironic with the government stranglehold on business in California that it lasted this long.
    Burger fries and a coke for two is $20 plus dollars and a tip. 7 bucks for a hotdog from a guy with a two wheel cart.

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