A small immigrant-owned business has grown to become an acclaimed New York City hotspot for Chinese food – and it is all thanks to a visit from the late food critic and chef Anthony Bourdain.
While there have been dozens of tributes to the beloved Food Network star, one Facebook post from Xi’an Famous Foods is particularly noteworthy. The post, which was written by the restaurant’s CEO Jason Wang, explains how the business’s success is largely due to a visit from Bourdain in 2007.
Wang’s family had been living in a one-bedroom apartment in Flushing, New York while they ran a basement food stall at the Golden Shopping Mall. Their business had been struggling – until Bourdain visited the food stall for his show “No Reservations” on the Travel Channel.
Wang says that in preparation for Bourdain’s visit, his father had prepared a bunch of off-the-menu dishes to impress the culinary star – and it worked. After the episode aired, their business was booming.
Xi’an Famous Foods now has 12 branches across New York City, and Wang says that it is all thanks to Bourdain. Eight years after the episode, Wang finally got the chance to thank Bourdain for the visit that changed his family’s lives forever.
“I remember years later in 2015 after interviewing together for an article,” Wang writes, “I approached Tony and told him, while he may have no idea what he has done for our family and business by simply saying he enjoyed the food, I wanted him to know it helped bring our family out from living in one room in Flushing to living the American dream.”
“We were able to grow our business and provide great food for our guests, and opportunities for our employees. I looked at him in the eyes and said, this is something we will always be thankful for, Tony. And he simply replied, ‘I’m just calling out good food like it is, that’s all.’”
So as a means of repaying the culinary star for his kindness, Wang announced that all of the net profits made at Xi’an Famous Foods on June 8th would be donated to the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline ‘1-800-273-TALK (8255)’.
He told Buzzfeed News that he estimates the donation could be as much as $60,000.
“I’ve lost a dear friend today, and we mourn with the rest of the world,” says Wang. “Please cherish all of our lives and help those who may be struggling. Rest in peace, Tony, and the most sincere condolences to Tony’s beloved family.”
Share The Moving Story With Your Friends On Social Media – Photo by Jason Wang