Jing Fong has been a New York institution since 1978, specializing in dim sum and Cantonese cuisine. The first location in Chinatown was at 24 Elizabeth Street and had capacity for 150 seats.
But in a still developing Chinatown and amidst wider economic uncertainty, the original owners fell upon difficult times. In 1980, the owners negotiated a deal with their master plumber, Shui Ling Lam -- in exchange for forgiving their debts, he would become the restaurant’s majority shareholder. He was able to save the restaurant, which served as an important hub for the community.
In 1993, the restaurant moved to 20 Elizabeth Street, a massive 25,000 square feet space with capacity for 800 seats. With the new grand dining hall, Jing Fong was able to offer the traditional Chinese dining experience ̶ a social gathering meant to be shared – to many more guests. This location was the largest dim sum and banquet hall in Chinatown for decades.
In 2007, Shui Ling Lam passed the restaurant on to his son Ming Lam, who soon passed it to Truman Lam. Truman, third-generation of the Lam family, has been at the helm since 2010 – modernizing the experience and making it accessible to a wider audience.
In 2017, Jing Fong opened a second location on the Upper West Side. Located on the corner of 78th Street and Amsterdam Avenue, the 2,000 square feet space also has an outdoor patio.
But due to the 2020 pandemic, all Chinatown businesses struggled. With all gatherings paused and tourism non-existent, the giant ballroom had to rely solely on take-out and delivery. Truman was determined to keep his grandfather's restaurant running, even if it meant relocating and downsizing. In May 2021, the 20 Elizabeth Street location shuttered as it was impossible to sustain the 800 seats restaurant. At the same time, construction was starting at the new location.
In December 2021, Jing Fong re-opened in Chinatown at 202 Centre Street. The newly renovated space has architectural elements from the 20 Elizabeth Street location, capacity for 125 seats, and is often transformed into a unique venue for weddings, birthdays, special events, corporate and holiday parties.