YOU CAN HELP: Benefit concert, crowdfunding for Yen Wor family

Next week, West Seattle’s psychedelic-country rocker Brent Amaker and his band The Rodeo perform a special hometown show to help the venue where it’s happening.

They’ll play at Yen Wor Village (2300 California SW) to help the family-owned restaurant/bar get through tough times. Not just COVID-restriction-related – this goes beyond that. There’s a crowdfunding campaign too, and as explained on that page, proprietors Gary and Wendy Wong have battled serious medical problems – for Gary, a life-threatening bout with COVID, followed by a stroke; for Wendy, a fall that led to broken bones and surgery. Both had pre-existing chronic illnesses, too. Now their sons are running the Yen Wor, and the business has needs too, from renovation to back rent. It’s been a West Seattle staple for more than 30 years and they hope to keep it going another 30, with help. On April 13th, the doors open at 6 pm – go sing karaoke! – and Brent Amaker and The Rodeo take the stage at 10. Donations will be accepted at the door.

15 Replies to "YOU CAN HELP: Benefit concert, crowdfunding for Yen Wor family"

  • Lynda B April 4, 2022 (10:06 pm)

    Thanks for posting this!  I’m sharing in my groups.  

  • Neighbor April 5, 2022 (10:49 am)

    I truly don’t mean this as defamatory, as I have been curious about this place for the 10+ years I have lived in the neighborhood, but is this place sketchy?  I don’t know if it is the lack of windows, reviews I have read on the food, or the people outside smoking, but it has always just seemed off.  I would love having a go-to Chinese food joint in walking distance, especially with Lee’s closing, but something about this place has just keeps us from ordering food.  Anyone have any insight that could push me over the edge and give it a try?  Thanks!

    • Neighbor April 5, 2022 (1:17 pm)

      The people outside smoking are typically a mix of Yen Wor but mainly the Admiral Bar. From personal experience just going for dinner at Yen Wor is tasty chinese food and if you’re looking for late night fun the back area is a completely different vibe from the front and a ton of fun. Whether it’s chow mein or well drink shots then kareoke it’s a very recommendable establishment.

    • Jen April 5, 2022 (1:31 pm)

      @Neighbor if you’ve had ten years to notice this much about the place, you’ve had more than enough time to check it out. You’ve obviously already made up your mind, so why ask for opinions instead of just walking in and making up your mind for yourself like an adult? Willful helplessness isn’t going to get you far.

      • Neighbor April 5, 2022 (4:46 pm)

        @Jen, you presuppose to know a lot about me and I don’t really understand your need to insult.  It was a legitimate question, as every time I pass with my wife I ask her if we should order some takeout to try it.  I think @NEIGHBOR pointed out the juxtaposition of the place pretty well, it is both a restaurant AND a late night place to have fun.  Considering I have a school age daughter, the atmosphere is important to me.  As @NEIGHBOR also pointed out, some of the smoking is shared with the Admiral Pub, considering Admiral Pub is a bar, I wouldn’t take my daughter there either (and I assume it is 21+), but Yen Wor seems to straddle a line.  So how do I keep passing by without trying it, partly because I’m not in my early 20’s anymore and need to consider my daughter and what I want to potentially expose her to.  With the lack of windows and the inability to see the vibe inside, it is just easier to frequent the many places around it.  Since the “back area” isn’t of interest to my family at this stage in our life, it then just becomes about the food, and you can read the reviews yourself to get a sense of what others are saying.  Again, with Lee’s out we are shopping a new takeout Chinese restaurant, so I was hoping someone on here could put out a counterpoint to the lackluster reviews on the web.  If you have any actual insight into the food, I would love to get your opinion.

        • Neighbor April 5, 2022 (6:51 pm)

          If it helps Yen Wor is the Chinese food equivalent of Maharaja.

          • Neighbor April 5, 2022 (9:20 pm)

            @Neighbor, good comparison.  Thanks!

    • Dan April 11, 2022 (9:46 pm)

      Totally agree and we’ve been here 30+ years:

  • Peter S. April 5, 2022 (12:05 pm)

    Not to nit pick, but Yen Wor Village has been around a LOT longer than 30 years.  At least 50+ ??   Some of us old-timers remember hitting the Yen Wor bar for reliably stiff drinks before lining up in the dinner queue for the legendary Skippers Galley (now Spring House Thai), across California Ave.    Sorry to hear of their struggles.  Wishing them the best to carry on.  

    • miws April 5, 2022 (12:48 pm)

      Peter S. yes, technically, Yen Wor Village has been around since at least the mid-late ’60s, which I know of.  The “30 years” has immediately caught my attention each time reading it, too. My guess is it’s around the amount of time the current owners took over, and/or since it became a little more known as a bar with karaoke, as opposed to a Chinese restaurant. —Mike

  • Buddy April 5, 2022 (1:40 pm)

    I’m 57 years old I and remember going there like in middle school with a friend and ordering a grilled cheese sandwich. As an adult I went there and listened to the table next to us drunker then all get up arguing about there rather high alcohol bill from the waitress who tried to explain to the drunks people at the table the long list of drinks that they have ordered throughout the night. There use to be a Royal Forks All You Can eat I think across the street or down the street from it that I foundly have memories too also. 

    • Mark47n April 5, 2022 (2:52 pm)

      There was the Royal Fork (my Great-Grandmother was banned for sneaking food to feed to local cats and other strays), the Lucky Stores, where my Great-Grandfather was a buyer (he, incidentally used to hang out with my late next door neighbor, I found out, when I helped him with some electrical work) and the Herfy’s a bit east on Admiral. At West Seattle Bowl, long before my time, my Great Grandmother was also voted ‘Most Profane Bowler’ in her league.More to the point, I love this place. The food is good, but not great, but I love Wendy and the Pagoda Room. It’s at its best after 9pm on Friday and Saturday. I’ll definitely be along for this, despite my first post.

  • Bob April 7, 2022 (7:01 pm)

    I fondly remember Brent & the Rodeo crew lighting up SummerFest back in 2017. Great to hear they’re helping support Yen Wor, a West Seattle institution. Let’s get a big crowd out for this – I’m psyched (pun intended)!  

  • Lynda B April 8, 2022 (9:50 am)

    I made a donation.   They also have Yen Wor gear for sale, too.  Through

  • Roddy3 April 9, 2022 (6:26 pm)

    I’ve always had mixed feelings about Yen Wor….fond memories of going there as a kid in the ’70s with my folks and inhaling Almond Fried Chicken, then hearing and reading not so great things about it (food quality and otherwise) in more recent times. Haven’t been there in many years. That said, reading the circumstances that the family is going through on the Go Fund Me page was pretty heartbreaking (I encourage you to read it if you haven’t) and I am hoping to be able to make a donation either at this event or via Go Fund Me. I wish all the best to the Wongs.

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