Inflation forces Palo Alto Chinese restaurant to close after 38 years

Regulars at a Chinese restaurant in Palo Alto savored their final meals from the long-running establishment that has been forced to close its doors due to inflation.

Customers, some of whom have become like family, at Jing Jing Gourmet in downtown Palo Alto, are saddened to have to bid farewell to the beloved establishment, which will permanently shut its doors on Sunday.

The owners of Jing Jing Gourmet have decided to retire and shut down the restaurant, citing the high operating costs required to stay afloat.


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"It was a very tough decision for my mom," said Julie Tsai Law, whose family took over the restaurant in 1994. The restaurant has been a fixture for 38 years.

"The lease has been really high and the operating costs in downtown Palo Alto is very high. The utilities went up quite a bit. The labor cost, the material costs. Overall we feel that we are here to service the community, but in the end, we also need to look at our business operation costs," said Law.

Jing Jing Gourmet's closure echoes the fate of other small businesses across the Bay Area that have caved due to inflation.

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Customer Andrea Reed understands the challenges Jing Jing Gourmet faced and recalls other businesses in the area that had to shutter.

"We're losing all the good ones," she said. "It's like what's happening in a lot of places and in the Bay area and these towns, they can't keep up."

Reed, who has been a customer since 1991, hurried to Jing Jing Gourmet when she learned the restaurant was closing.

"I got a little teary-eyed," she admitted. "So I'm here today to honor them and thank them."

Law saw a steady flow of customers on Thursday coming to enjoy their favorite dishes one last time at Jing Jing. She hopes to start a new venture to continue serving Jing Jing's cherished patrons but did not disclose those details.

For now, it's farewell.