YOU CAN HELP: Tragedy strikes New Leaf Bistro ownership family

(Family photo, used with permission)

Every small, family-owned business has a story. Recently, the one behind New Leaf Bistro in The Admiral District turned tragic. Less than a year and a half after opening the restaurant in the former Royal India Grill space, co-proprietors Geoffrey Ly and Shi Qiu Chen found out in December that Geoffrey had “a very aggressive cancer,” customer and friend Suzanne Krom writes. “His doctors started treatment but it quickly overwhelmed his system, and on January 29th, he died. He was only 55 years old.”

The couple has two young children, 10-year-old Angelina and 8-year-old Kelvin. Chen is now raising them alone and running the restaurant, a 17-hour-a-day job.

When Suzanne found out about Geoffrey’s death, she wanted to do something to help, something with which the community could help too. So today she launched a GoFundMe page. She writes that “the business and family are in jeopardy. Friends have rallied around her and customers who know about the loss of Geoffrey have been supportive too. But it’s not enough, which is why we have set up this GoFundMe page. Any donations of any size are welcome. We have a goal of $30,000 to help Shi Qiu pay for Geoffrey’s funeral costs. … Shi Qiu and her children will be eternally grateful for any help they receive. It will help make this tragedy something they can recover from. And it will feel like Geoffrey is indeed watching over them, making sure they are going to be okay.”

Mr. Ly’s West Seattle ties, by the way, went beyond New Leaf Bistro; as we reported when it opened, he also operated Hunan Express in Morgan Junction at the turn of the millennium. Again, if you’d like to help, the GoFundMe page is here.

20 Replies to "YOU CAN HELP: Tragedy strikes New Leaf Bistro ownership family"

  • bmc March 4, 2017 (6:21 pm)

    Oh that is so sad…… I hope there is some help out there for her.

    • P. Cooper March 5, 2017 (12:50 pm)

      Thank you. Everyone is looking out for one another. Shi and her kids are doing their best. 

  • Mark March 4, 2017 (6:41 pm)

    Sad to hear this,  it’s a GREAT neighborhood restaurant and they deserve support

  • Erithan March 4, 2017 (6:58 pm)

    So sad, I’m sorry for your loss. Was Hunan the place inside thrift way?

  • Mike March 4, 2017 (7:15 pm)

    So so sorry for the loss of their father and husband.  Reading the kids notes about their dad on the GoFundMe page got to me.  Thinking of what my girls would write about me if I was not around.  It’s good they have memories of a great and loving father.  So sorry, just sad to read this.

    • P. Cooper March 5, 2017 (12:54 pm)

      Thanks so much Mike. When I converse with Shi about Geoffrey, we always breakdown. He was the love of her life and vice versa (along with the kids).  Thank you for your sympathy at this time. It is truly appreciated. 

  • Rachel Lazar March 4, 2017 (9:59 pm)

    I met Shi Qiu just last night when we had dinner at New Leaf Bistro and she was so lovely.  Sending the family our thoughts and hoping that our incredible West Seattle community rallies around this family in their time of need…

  • Suzanne Krom March 5, 2017 (4:54 am)

    am beyond words of gratitude right now for West Seattle
    s incredible outpouring of support for this hardworking and
    kind family. When I offered to create the Go Fund Me page for Shi Qiu and her
    children, Shi said that she really needed the support — but it was clear that
    she wasn’t accustomed to asking others for help.

    She and Geoffrey have always
    worked extremely long hours and when things got difficult, they had always been
    able to put their heads down and do the work to get through those tough times.
    But this time Shi was faced with one of the hardest things that could happen — and her rock, Geoffrey, was gone. They had had no time to prepare for the suddenness
    of his illness and then death.


    time I’ve eaten at their restaurant, I’m always struck by care that Shi Qiu and
    Geoffrey put into every aspect, from the exceptional dishes they made entirely
    from scratch, to their attentiveness and genuine warmth of their hospitality. I
    happened to be there on January 29th with a friend, and even though she
    tried to hide it, I noticed that Shi was doing all she could to not to cry. I
    asked her if she was okay and she told me that Geoffrey had died that day, and
    that she had just come from the hospital.

    I was stunned. I asked if there wasn’t
    someone who could step in even for one night to allow her to grieve. She told
    me that there was no one who could do that for her, that she had to be there at
    the restaurant to keep it going. She added that working helped keep her from
    focusing on what had just happened, and that being there she felt Geoffrey
    s presence and a sense of peacefulness as she worked.


    strength as she faces her future, now without Geoffrey, and her determination to
    power through no matter what are remarkable.  


    WSB published this story yesterday afternoon, and in that short time, the West Seattle
    community has donated almost $4,000 so far. From the bottom of our hearts, THANK


    you have donated, know that we will write soon to thank you directly and let
    you know how much we appreciate your support. 

  • P. Cooper March 5, 2017 (9:06 am)

    The New Leaf Bistro family is beyond words for the support of the community. Thank you so much and we are honored to be among the kind and caring people of this tremendously wonderful community. Again, thank you all for your support. 

  • Monica March 5, 2017 (10:50 am)

    This is so heartbreaking! Do her children go to Lafayette? I love all the people who work in there. I talked to one lady, not sure if she was She Qiu, who told her her children went to Lafayette. I’d love to help further fundraisers through the school as well! My thoughts and prayers are with her as she heals during this difficult time.

    • P. Cooper March 5, 2017 (1:07 pm)

      Thanks Monica, 

      Yes, both of her children attend Lafayette. I think it was Shi Q. that you spoke to. She is very friendly so, I wouldn’t be surprised if she engaged in a conversation with you. She loves talking to people. 

  • Alki Resident March 5, 2017 (11:33 am)

    Can someone please help her get set up for Social Security death benefits for her kids?  It’s a monthly amount of money for the kids until they are 18. It’ll help financially a bit. I’m so sorry for her loss and the kids. Very heartbreaking.

  • Toni March 5, 2017 (3:41 pm)

    How about if everyone who had a meal they enjoyed sent in a donation to help. We all know their prices are reasonable might help keep them open. Too few good places in Admiral district compared to Alaskan junction. Let’s all help them stay open.

  • Jamie Trigg March 5, 2017 (5:28 pm)

    Thank you for sharing. I’ve donated and posted this on Facebook, as well.

  • Mark March 5, 2017 (6:26 pm)

    Alki resident good comment.  The SS survivors benefit for kids is there precisely for this purpose.

  • Jake from State Farm March 5, 2017 (8:52 pm)

    Very friendly people, very good service and kind. Please lets all support this family!

  • May ly March 6, 2017 (10:07 pm)

    My name is May Geoffrey’s baby sister.  My friend Kristin Hanson shared with me about my brother’s fundraiser this morning.   I was speechless.  Wow…I can’t stop crying…the day that my brother passed, my sister in law was worry sick about how she was going to keep the restaurant running and also figuring out how she can pay for all the oncoming bills by herself. So she did go into work that day,  she didn’t want to risk a chance of losing the restaurant. This is the only source of income that she have to raise her kids.  I got really discourage.  I felt this world was so cold that nothing really stops (including bills) no matter what had just happened..

    I am truly overwhelmed by your support and can’t thanks everyone enough for reaching out to help my family❤️ Especially thanks to  Suzanne krom who takes time out of her busy life to help put this fundraiser together . You are not only helping my brother family financially but also helped me realize there are also lots of kind people with big hearts in the this world😘. Thank you everyone for filling my heart with love n inspirations…

  • Suzanne Krom March 7, 2017 (6:15 am)

    Hi May Ly,

    I am so very sorry for yo loss of your brother Geoffrey. He
    was such a good man, and far, far too young. When I saw Shi Qiu working at
    their restaurant the night he died, it broke my heart that she could not take
    even that one day off from work. The New Leaf Bistro has become one of my very
    favorite restaurants here in West Seattle and I know how hard Shi and Geoffrey
    work to make everything perfect.  


    I could not rest until I found some way to help her. It’s hard
    enough to provide for children and manage a small restaurant (especially when the
    prices are so reasonable and the quality is excellent). But now the full
    responsibility is on Shi Qiu’s shoulders to provide for Angelina and Kelvin as
    well as her parents.

    The most urgent need is paying off the $30,000 in funeral
    expenses, which is why I focused on them for the Go Fund Me campaign. We are
    almost 43% to the goal of $30,000! Raised in three days. How extraordinary is


    My hope is that West Seattle community comes together to raise
    the full $30,000 so this debt is completely erased.


    And I hope that our community can come together to continue to
    support her. I was so touched that someone in these comments offered to help with
    other fundraisers at Lafayette, where her children attend school. very much hope that happens.

    Other possible fundraisers could help pay a portion of the rent
    for the restaurant for a month or so, to relieve some of the pressure
    she is under right now,, My
    ultimate wish is that a scholarship could be started for her children, Angelina
    and Kelvin.


    May, I so appreciate your very kind words, Out of this tragedy, Shi Qiu
    and her family have become good friends. And this experience has been a
    powerful reminder of why I love this generous and very special West Seattle
    community. The deep compassion and kindness of all of you who are stepping up
    to help Shi Qiu is a great gift. 216 people have contributed so far.

    We live
    in a very special place with extraordinary people. It gives me real hope that
    love does indeed win in the end. It’s certainly true here in West Seattle. For
    anyone who is reading this, if you can donate, I know that will mean a lot to
    them. No amount is too small (or too large). We still have $17,280 to go to cover Geoffrey’s funeral costs. Please go to the family’s Go Fund Me page to donate —


    And be sure to go eat at Shi’s restaurant! It’s another important way we can help support Shi Qiu and her
    family. If you’ve been
    there before, you know how delicious the food is there. If you haven’t been
    there yet, you are in for a major treat. Hint – If you haven’t donated yet,  consider donating before you head out to
    enjoy a great meal there.


    • May ly March 7, 2017 (7:50 pm)
      Thank you Suzanne, 
      Yes I’m still in shock that my brother is no longer with us. The last thing he  said to me was ” please help them when I’m not around” he can be at peace knowing not only families and friends are here for his wife and kids but there are love and caring people from the west Seattle community too.  The compassion and the kindness are the gifts that  keeps on giving. Someday Angelina and kelvin can help families in need too. 
      I know that you are very busy with your own family but do stop by the restaurant sometime and bring your love ones as well.  New Leaf bistro have fantastic food.
  • Mark March 7, 2017 (1:10 pm)

    Wonderful restaurant, good food, modest prices and great service.  Bigger tipping for the great service is way to help also

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