San Diego's Oldest Restaurant Has Closed

March 11, 2019

Yesterday was the last round of service for San Diego's oldest restaurant, Pekin Cafe Chop Suey, which has been a fixture on University Avenue in North Park for almost 90 years.

Founded by Chinese immigrant Leo Fong in 1931, Chop Suey Peking Restaurant is considered by many as San Diego's oldest operating restaurant, predating other historic San Diego eateries such as The Waterfront Bar (1933), Tobey’s 19th Hole (1934), The Chicken Pie Shop (1938), and Hob Nob Hill (1944). Fong's daughters, Maria & Anna, currently operate the business and many employees have been there for decades, continuing the longstanding tradition of serving free black tea and Cantonese-style dishes from steel carts.

"Thank you San Diego and North Park for 88 wonderful years of beautiful memories," said restaurant staff on a post to the company's Facebook Page. "Peking Restaurant is officially closed. These last 3 months have been so incredibly heartwarming and heartbreaking as so many of you came in to share your stories and say your goodbyes. It has been an absolute pleasure knowing you all and serving you through the generations. We will miss you all. Thank you for welcoming us into your lives and making us a part of your tradition."

Peking Restaurant has closed on its own accord so older staff could retire and the younger generation, including the original founder's grandchildren, would be able to pursue other interests. There is no word on who will be taking over the space at 2877 University Avenue in San Diego's North Park community.

"Everyone is just ready to retire," said Stephanie Fong, the granddaughter of the original founder. We talked about it as a family and decided to let it go with the people who made it what it is all these years. While everyone is healthy and happy, we'll let them enjoy their lives and relax. It's bitter sweet for sure."