Seven Treasures Restaurant in Chicago's Chinatown closing after more than 40 years

ByJasmine Minor WLS logo
Friday, August 11, 2023
Seven Treasures Restaurant closing after more than 40 years
Seven Treasures Restaurant, a beloved staple of Chicago's Chinatown, is closing for good after more than 40 years.

CHICAGO (WLS) -- Seven Treasures Restaurant, a beloved staple of Chicago's Chinatown, is closing for good after more than 40 years.

Tons of people came out Friday, some waiting for hours, to get that last taste of a dumpling, a noodle soup, or the restaurant's signature 554 dish. The line stretched around the corner.

Richard Tivavyan said his family took turns waiting in line. He's still processing that Seven Treasures will soon be no more.

"I don't know that's why- It doesn't seem right that's why I had to come here, you know?" he said.

Tivavyan said his family has been coming to Seven Treasures for more than 30 years.

The restaurant first opened in 1981. Frank Ting, younger brother-in-law of owner Benjamin Au, who inheretd the restaurant from his father Chung Au, said as much as the family is overwhelmed by the support from longtime customers, it's time for a more permanent vacation.

"You making money, but you don't enjoy the money, right?" he said. "That's what I'm telling [my brother-in-law], get a six month vacation. He's been working for 20 years, no vacation, no day off."

The owner is officially going into retirement after the family's younger generation said they didn't want to take over the business. Seven Treasures' final day will be this coming Tuesday.

The restaurant's most famous and beloved dish is the 554, which consists of two fried eggs, barbecue pork, rice and soy sauce. It was originally offered for $5. It is so well known that it has an entry on Urban Dictionary, an online dictionary for slang words and phrases.

The dish is popular among late-night patrons and takes its name from an old menu. The eatery is open until 2 a.m. most days unless the kitchen runs out of food.

"The first day people knew we were closing, the line was 2'oclock in the morning still waiting outside," Ting said. "All the customers coming back, we appreciate the business all these years but you know what, we need to rest."

Happy Lamb Hot Pot, a restaurant just down the street from Seven Treasures, will move from its current location after its lease expires and it will take over the vacant space later this year.

The Sun-Times Media Wire contributed to this report.