Young and Hungry

Hollywood East Tentatively Set to Reopen on Dec. 14

hpim2090_opt

Little has gone the way Janet Yu expected in trying to reopen her Hollywood East dim-sum parlor in the Westfield Shopping Center in Wheaton.

The owner quickly discovered that the new space, a former restaurant in the mall, was not suited to her needs, at least not as currently equipped. The duct work needed to be replaced. The gas lines needed to be upgraded to handle Hollywood East's powerful woks. The bathrooms needed to be expanded.

The whole space, in short, was in dire need of an overhaul, save for the air conditioning and the ceiling, Yu tells Y&H this afternoon. "We gutted the whole place, and we had to start all over," she says.

The unexpected build-out has, of course, delayed Hollywood East's expected reopening date following the restaurant's unceremonious ousting from its former location on University Boulevard in Wheaton. The dim-sum operation was supposed to celebrate its grand reopening in August. Now, Yu says, she's looking at a soft reopening on Monday, Dec. 14.

Even more painful is the price of the upgrades. Yu says the costs are "almost $200,000 more than I expected." She tried to turn to the banks for a loan but found that path blocked.

"It's not good for anybody," Yu says about bank loans. "Nobody wants to fund restaurants, even SBA."

The good news is that the new Hollywood East will be about 700 square feet larger than the old space, and it will be much greener, with energy-saving lights and wind-powered energy. The reopening will also mean good news for many of the former employees who have been not-so-patiently waiting for the restaurant's re-emergence.

"Some of them are just collecting unemployment," Yu says of her employees. "Some have been trying to find part time jobs."

Yu is hoping Hollywood East passes all the necessary inspections for the Dec. 14 opening. That way, employees can get acquainted with the new space — and reacquainted with the menu, which will remain the same. "Then we can have a big Christmas party for customers," Yu says.

  • Enzo Fargione

    Janet,
    Miss your dim sum....I will be there soon, once I finish with my shift on my way home as I use to do regularly ......get the spicy dumplings ready
    Good luck with the new space
    Enzo

  • Alicia Greer

    Hurry! Can't wait! Best Chinese restaurant in the metro area with reasonable prices. Haven't been able to find another like it since you closed your restaurant on University Boulevard. I will be waiting with great anticipation. Best of luck and let us know when you reopen!

  • http://davidtrack.com David Track

    This is great news, Janet and Alan! I've been checking your website every week to see if I'll be eating dimsum that weekend. I know what it's like to be under pressure for a launch date/grand opening. If there's one thing I've learned, don't let the pressure get to you... open when you're good and ready! But don't wait too long, I am starving!

  • Alex Bardsley

    Can't wait. Discovered Hollywood East last Christmas--didn't think there was Chinese food that good closer than New York.

  • http://www.techsavvymama.com Leticia

    Thanks for the update and interview with Janet. We are Hollywood East loyalists and our family has certainly been missing their food and dim sum since we ran into Janet at Taste of Wheaton where she told us about the closing. We are quite excited about the Dec. 14th opening and hope all inspections go as planned so we can visit the new space for great food once again!

  • Anne

    We are eagerly awaiting the reopening, and wish the owners much success! You have a large and loyal clientele that will follow you anywhere! Good luck.

  • Pingback: Hollywood East Cafe Owner Hopes to Reopen in Two Weeks - Young & Hungry - Washington City Paper

...