BIZNOTE: Yen Wor Village plans to close at month’s end

One year ago, we reported on a fundraising campaign to try to keep Yen Wor Village, the restaurant/bar at 2300 California SW in The Admiral District, from closing. As noted at the time, the Wong family, owners of Yen Wor for more than 30 years, has been struggling with both financial and health challenges. They’ve made it through another year but now have announced a plan to close. The restaurant says it’ll close at the end of the month. No special events in the works to mark the end of an era, so far, but we’re told that could change. The crowdfunding campaign launched last year is still active – a poster for it is still displayed in the Yen Wor’s window:

But there’s no indication that a rescue is possible now. If you want to support the restaurant by dining/drinking there in the meantime, before the March 31st closure, they’re open seven nights a week.

79 Replies to "BIZNOTE: Yen Wor Village plans to close at month's end"

  • tim March 19, 2023 (7:55 pm)


  • Scott March 19, 2023 (11:45 pm)

    One of the worst restaurants I’ve ever been to. 

    • Rick March 21, 2023 (11:29 am)

      Have some “Class” Comment posters.   Yen Wor has been in business 30years in West Seattle.  How many Restaurants can say that!   Many  Thanks Yen Wor

      • WSB March 21, 2023 (11:59 am)

        More than that – I don’t know exactly when it opened, but while trying to research that, I found an online image of a newspaper ad from 1969 listing Admiral businesses including this one.

        • rw March 21, 2023 (1:33 pm)

          WSB – Same restaurant, but different owners. I went there with my parents way back in the 60s. I think it even went back to late 50s.

        • Chris March 30, 2023 (2:39 pm)

          I’m 66 and first went there when I was 18. 

  • East Coast Cynic March 20, 2023 (7:20 am)

    Go for the pool, the stiff drinks and the karaoke, avoid the horrible chinese food.

  • Keenan March 20, 2023 (8:18 am)

    I don’t understand why people fall for sob stories like this.The food at Yen Wor is awful, I’m sorry.  They simply cannot make a decent General Tso’s chicken, which is the most basic thing any Chinese restaurant needs to do well.  I’ve ordered it several times over many years, and it’s always been bland and soggy.I’ve lived in Seattle since 2010 and West Seattle since 2013 and I’m continuously baffled that a city that’s so good at Teriyaki is so bad at Chinese food.  The only place in West Seattle that has passible General Tso’s is New Luck Toy, and that’s literally the only good thing on their menu.  Their egg rolls are so salty as to be almost inedible.I just don’t get it.  I’ve had Chinese food in Detroit, Madison, New York, LA, San Francisco, Ann Arbor, San Diego, and Chicago and everyone manages to pull off American-style Chinese better than Seattle.Do not save this place.  It doesn’t deserve saving.  Maybe someone will step in and offer competent Chinese food in its place and Seattle can finally stop embarrassing itself in this arena.

    • Ron Swanson March 20, 2023 (9:02 am)

      If you’re going for the food rather than booze and karaoke you’re doing it wrong 

      • Jeepney March 20, 2023 (10:28 am)

        You got that right.  Their focus was on the bar and karaoke, they had very few tables for dining.Going to miss this place as well as the owners.

        • Erik March 23, 2023 (10:17 am)

          Maybe that’s why they’re shutting down. Seems difficult to make enough money on just booze and karaoke.  But I agree, worst chinese food I have ever eaten. 

    • Steve March 20, 2023 (9:26 am)

      Yeah I’ve been here for 10+ years and went to Yen Wor ONCE. I love trashy Chinese food, but seriously Safeway does much better and that’s saying something.

    • KL March 20, 2023 (9:37 am)

      Woah. Chill bro. It’s pretty obvious you aren’t are true local around here. Sad that you feel so strongly about a family business that has been around for as long as Yen Wor. If you are as passionate about Chinese food as you proclaim to be, maybe you should start a restaurant that meets your standards rather than writing an essay about how bad this one is. 

      • Mike March 20, 2023 (11:10 am)

        “True local” lol. You people that are from here are some of the worst most out of touch people around. It’s cool though one by one you “true locals” are getting driven out and soon we won’t have to deal with you anymore 

        • KL March 22, 2023 (6:47 am)

          @Mike-HAH! You just proved my point.

    • BK March 20, 2023 (10:38 am)

      @ Keenan – yeah, well if you don’t like the General Tso’s @ Yen Wor so much here’s a novel idea: Don’t go there. In fact, why don’t you just head back to Detroit or Madison or New York or LA or San Francisco or Ann Arbor or San Diego or Chicago since they all seem to have such better General Tso’s than us here in Seattle. ‘Cause honestly, we don’t need crap attitude’s like yours out here anyways. To think that you’d encourage people to actively sabotage a family-run local business on the brink of closure (with many other qualities other than your “enlightened” opinion of one of their dishes) is beyond disgusting. Don’t want ya. Hit the road.

      • Keenan March 21, 2023 (8:23 pm)

        “Actively sabotage a family-run local business.”  Are you serious?  They sabotaged themselves by offering bad food that not enough people were willing to buy to stay in business.  Then they tried to beg for donations, which also failed.  I gave them plenty of chances over the years, probably more than I should have, which speaks to the truly dismal state of the West Seattle Chinese food scene more than anything.I was amused at your aggressively provincial attitude, however.  How charming.

      • Erik March 23, 2023 (10:19 am)

        I mean…or you could just go to Safeway and get better General Tso’s. You dont need to go cross country, that’s for sure!

    • Derek March 20, 2023 (10:42 am)

      Dude…it wasn’t about the food AT ALL! It was the VIBE. The karaoke and the trivia nights were such a blast. I miss it already. I agree with others here… you’re doing it wrong if you don’t understand what Yen Wor is about…

    • Oh Seattle March 20, 2023 (12:11 pm)

      Keenan with such a gross “Elite 2023” Yelper vibe.  What kind of person gets so worked up about Chinese food?  If you don’t like the food, don’t eat there.  If someone asks you whether they should eat there, emphatically tell them “no”.  But to have this kind of reaction about a family losing their business?  So tacky.

    • Lisa March 20, 2023 (12:40 pm)

      @keenan you know the definition of insane, right? Doing the same thing over and over expecting a different result. Me thinks you should move on from Chinese food, dude.

    • East Coast Cynic March 20, 2023 (1:02 pm)

      You can locate good Chinese food in Seattle, but you’ve got to go to the International District–Chengdu Taste, Hong Kong Kitchen, and Tai Tung, to name a few examples. Or the Eastside – Frying Fish, Dan Gui Sichuan Cuisine.  Unfortunately isolated to a few areas of the city.  Yes, the lack of it as an East Coaster in a city such as Seattle that likes to brag about itself being a world class city is quite frustrating.

    • Crystal March 20, 2023 (1:53 pm)

      I’ve been here for almost 70 years and Yen Wor is not my favorite. I miss the New Luck Toy that was at the Alaska California junction.  What we need Isa good American/Chinese restaurant that is open for lunch and dinner that us really open not just advertise that it is open. Another thing I miss at the junction is the ability to purchase crafts like Meredith’s had.  Remember when the Westwood village had a fabric store? That was nice also.  But back to affordable sit-down restaurants.  Please bring back more ethnic restaurants that are affordable and open for lunch.  

      • The King March 20, 2023 (2:58 pm)

        Thank you for mentioning the original Luck Toy. Four generations of my family loved their food. What I would trade to have a 1983 version of Cali junction back. I only go there now for Puerta Vallarta 

        • uncle loco March 20, 2023 (4:06 pm)

          I miss the Fong Fong. Good food without all the fancy stuff. Ate there a lot when I lived nearby. I think its a teriyaki place now.

          • Ken March 20, 2023 (6:26 pm)

            @ Uncle Loco – I also miss Fong Fong Café . Excellent, no frills Chinese food. Seem to remember they had plastic buckets in various spots to catch the rain water from the leaky roof.

    • Nani March 20, 2023 (2:04 pm)

      Keenan, you have no idea about Chinese food. Reducing all of Chinese food down to a metric like Gen Tso’s is ridiculous. What you’re referring is Cantonese influenced American Chinese food. That genre very much does not reflect actual Chinese food. The Seattle area has incredible Chinese food… Something we’ve massively benefited from with the increased amount of newer residents from China and Taiwan. You’re just not familiar with the cuisine or looking in the right place. 

      • Keenan March 21, 2023 (8:31 pm)

        I’ve had great Chinese food, in China.  I lived in Asia for a year, I know what real Cantonese and Szechwan food is.  I know we can get good Dim Sum in the ID, that’s not what we’re talking about here.I was obviously referring to AMERICAN Chinese food, you know, the kind Yen Wor served?  The subject of the article that we’re all commenting on here?  I grew up in a midwestern blue collar town, which inexplicably did American Chinese food better than anything I’ve had in Seattle.   I’m not crapping on Seattle.  This has been my home for over a decade and I WANT Seattle to have better Chinese food.  It’s maddening that I can’t find good General Tso’s delivery here.  I’m not some “coastal elite,” literally EVERY city I’ve ever lived and worked in (and I travelled as a consultant for many years), from East Cost to West to South to everything in between, does American-style Chinese better than we do.   It’s not hard to fry chicken in a wok properly!  It’s maddening, and yes I cheer whenever I see business that can’t do it fail, like Yen Wor.  Capitalism working like it’s supposed to.

    • West Marge March 20, 2023 (6:42 pm)

      It’s not all about the food brosef. This is one of the most entertaining places in all of Seattle. BTW, is General Tso’s your standard? They have a great one at Safeway. 

      • Keenan March 21, 2023 (10:55 pm)

        No, they don’t.  If you think Safeway food that’s been sitting under a heat lamp or in a refrigerator for hours is “great,” well then, that explains a lot actually about why places like Yen Wor were able to survive in this neighborhood for so long.Good General Tso’s is hot and crispy, fresh out of the wok, tossed with rich flavorful spicy and savory sauce, served with freshly steamed broccoli and fluffy and sticky white rice.  When done right, it should survive a delivery trip without turning into mush.  We all know it’s not “real Chinese food” but it’s a standard dish almost every American style Chinese restaurant serves, and you can be darn sure any restaurant that can’t even do that basic standard well is going to have serious problems surviving as a business.  Case in point: Yen Wor.  

        • West Marge April 4, 2023 (9:08 pm)

          You must be fun at parties. What’s it like to not have a sense of humor? You wrote an essay about your exquisite palate, so the best way to upset you, obviously was for me to suggest you go to Safeway. And it worked like a charm, and I got another essay! Lol. Please move away from our beloved city

    • aa March 21, 2023 (3:39 pm)

      I’m from the East Coast and have always favored Chinese food over Thai.   Broccoli with soy, garlic and ginger is my happy place.  If I want a taste of the Chinese food from my  past I go to Shanghai Garden on the corner of 6th and King. 

    • TODD D Martin March 22, 2023 (12:11 pm)

      i can’t wait till you open your 5 star Chinese restaurant.  I bet you can prepare food well.  If you don’t like something move on…Too many folks in this world love to kick you when yo are down.

    • Boinsted March 23, 2023 (10:31 am)

      Keenan complains about the food at a Chinese restaurant while ordering a non-Chinese dish – General Tso Chicken – developed in New York in the 1970s. I’m curious what other restaurants Keenan doesn’t like. Yen Wor, thanks for being a recognized and consistent business for so many years in N. Admiral community. The times I went were always entertaining. You drew a lively crowd and knew how to cater to them. 

  • Bill March 20, 2023 (8:19 am)

    If I remember correctly this restaurant was started by 1964 — always had the name Yen Wor  I remember the bldg being a dime store in the early 1950’s — 1953 to be exact — how long that lasted I do not know.  I think it may have been vacant for several years.

  • Derek March 20, 2023 (8:46 am)

    This is AWFUL news… best karaoke in the city!

  • Chelle March 20, 2023 (9:12 am)

    Very sad news. Such a fun, iconic west Seattle staple for so many years. Great karaoke and late night food. 

  • KL March 20, 2023 (11:27 am)

    @BK Well said, I agree. Whoop whoop!! Clapping emogi

  • Jeffrey H March 20, 2023 (12:18 pm)

    At one point many years ago, this restaurant had a really good food and me and my friends used to enjoy it. However, that seem to change in the last three, or four years. I’ve tried a couple times and I just was not impressed at all.  The quality of the food has really gone downhill.  With that said, it’s unfortunate that they have to close their doors however, competition is tough.  

  • Mellow Kitty March 20, 2023 (1:43 pm)

    Last time my husband and I ate there, we got food poisoning from bad pork. Never went back. 

  • J March 20, 2023 (2:04 pm)

    I’ve been around WS forever. Yen Wor has definitely gone down hill over the years (speaking about food), but we should celebrate its long history in WS. Back in the day it was our go-to for dinners out of any kind…a special treat. It was always my favorite and my family celebrated many birthdays there. Alki/Admiral people especially loved it. Junction people preferred the upstart New Luck Toy.  WS could definitely use a new and amazing Chinese food restaurant!! Missing the old Yen Wor, old New Luck Toy and Lee’s Asian for sure.

  • Cricket March 20, 2023 (2:09 pm)

    Favorite karaoke place in Seattle, especially since Bush Garden closed in the ID. Unassuming from the outside and then BAM! Party time! Great place to bring out of towners. Dinner? Maybe not. Jello shots n disco lights? Hell yes!

  • LG March 20, 2023 (3:11 pm)

    Can someone please call Lee’s Asian and tell them there is an opening in the north admiral district?!? 

    • seachasbo March 20, 2023 (8:48 pm)

      I support this 100%.

  • Johnny Bongshow March 20, 2023 (6:20 pm)

    the best chinese food in west seattle was from the chinese restaurant at west seattle bowl.

    • PMS March 21, 2023 (10:40 am)


  • Yours Truly March 20, 2023 (8:35 pm)

    Well you know what’s saddening is how several peeps jumped on one person’s (Keenan’s) post about the place. This is a forum where you should be able to express yourself freely, as we are still in America you know. But civil rights be taken away we’re headed to a different country, not sure what it’ll be named, sure I won’t be around by then. Let Americans have freedom of speech, it’s a forum for god’s sake (or should I not say ‘god’ for goodness sake that might bring up a whole new topic).

    • scott March 20, 2023 (9:08 pm)

      Freedom of speech doesn’t mean freedom from criticism. That one person was in fact allowed to say what they wanted to, and other people were allowed to say what they wanted to in return. That’s how it works. That’s how it’s working right now.

    • Kathy March 22, 2023 (10:58 am)

      Yours Truly, you should look into signing up for a civics class so you could gain a basic understanding of “civil rights”.  You seem to think it has something to do with civility?

  • Dunno March 21, 2023 (10:41 am)

    My mom loved the Golden Sun on Alki!  Garlic chicken was her favorite.  Was well run by family members.

    • RW March 21, 2023 (1:57 pm)

      The Golden Sun was the best and it even came with a view of Puget Sound! 

  • pebbles March 21, 2023 (11:03 am)

    Fun people go there awesome times yet there’s been some rude attitudes they treat people like tools. If they change their attitudes and were actually nice maybe they would thrive. New day New mind set learn and grow. Spread the love. great karaoke host they always do a great job kudos to them 

  • Olive March 21, 2023 (11:56 am)

    Everyone is missing Keenen’s main points.  He’s correct in his comparisons.

  • RayWest March 21, 2023 (1:46 pm)

    Sorry, but I have to agree with the negative reviews. I hate to trash anyone’s business, and I know they’ve been through a lot, but the Yen Wor is the worst Chinese food I’ve ever had anywhere. The bad Yelp reviews for years should have inspired them to make some positive changes. I’ve lived in West Seattle all my life and remember all the other Chinese restaurants that had good American-style Chinese food–The (Old) New Luck Toy, The Hi-Hat, Golden Sun, Fong Fong, and others. Yen Wor isn’t just bad, but I’ve gotten food poisoning when ordering home delivery.  Prior to the current owners, it was decent Chinese food. If the current owners had spent time on improving the cuisine, rather than focusing on booze and karaoke, they might have survived. It’s a shame, really, because this is one of the last W.S.  businesses from childhood. 

  • shotinthefoot March 21, 2023 (3:17 pm)

    Until reading the comments here, I didn’t realize anyone ever actually went to the Young…er, the Yen Wor for the food. I’ve lived here my entire adult life, and it’s always just been about the super strong drinks and the karaoke. (I love both of those things, but I am also susceptible to black mold, and that’s all the YW smelled like so I couldn’t enjoy it for long in the later years, it just kept getting worse the last 5 years) The true loss here isn’t the lack of good Chinese food – it’s the loss of one of the last great true Dive bars. 

    • WS Girl March 31, 2023 (10:08 am)

      If the Yen Wor had concentrated on serving quality American-Chinese food, then they possibly could have survived, thus allowing one segment of their customer base to solely enjoy the late-night karaoke and “stiff drinks.” It seems they had two separate customer bases–one wanting good Chinese food, and the other that only came for the after-hours entertainment. Unfortunately, they neglected one half of their business, which undercut the other half.

  • West Marge March 21, 2023 (5:05 pm)

    This has become an excellent forum to understand exactly why West Seattle is no fun. Uptight snobs live here now, and it shows. Some of us don’t go to bed at 9:30 and love to have a place to unwind, laugh, sing and dance with our fellow goofballs. 

    • RayWest March 22, 2023 (4:10 am)

      West Marge – No one’s complaining about there being a late-night place for people to unwind and have fun. The complaints are about the Yen Wor’s sub-par food (and for some, the less-than-stellar facilities). How is wanting a restaurant to serve good Chinese-American food being “uptight” and “snobbish”?

    • Keenan March 22, 2023 (9:51 am)

      Any relation to Large Marge from Pee Wee’s Big Adventure?Do you think restaurants that are open late and have “good vibes” must necessarily serve subpar, bland, mushy food?  I don’t want to be controversial here but I think it might just be possible to pay attention to both food quality AND atmosphere.  I hope that doesn’t blow the mind of any “true locals” on this forum that take inexplicable pride in never changing anything or learning from other places that might even do certain things better.I’m not asking for a Michelin started restaurant.  All I want is a place that delivers a good, consistent version of THE MOST BASIC chinese-American dish.   There are over 20,000 Chinese-American restaurants in the US and if we made a tier list of all of them, every single one in West Seattle would fall near the bottom. This is what good General Tso’s looks like, for those of you who’ve never seen it before.  It’s basically chicken nuggets.  I can’t understand why Seattle can’t get this right.

      • Ms F March 31, 2023 (4:07 pm)

        The Yen Wor’s appeal was never about the food.  In fact, going there close to 2 decades, I think I once had some egg rolls! 😂

        • Jradz April 6, 2023 (9:42 am)

          I didn’t even know they served food for the first 5 years I went there…. I always just thought of it as the dive next to a dive, where I could go after the pub cut me off, lol! 

      • Jradz April 6, 2023 (9:38 am)

        They had the best wings on the west side! Just cuz you didn’t know what to order didn’t make it a bad place, bro… Anyone that’s spent more than a day in West Seattle for the last 30 years has ended up at the young whore. It was a staple of the Admiral district, and West Seattle in general.

  • Westly March 21, 2023 (7:12 pm)

    Wonder if they got a bid on the property.  Good real estate area.  Imagine some more apartments. 

    • WSB March 21, 2023 (8:24 pm)

      To be clear, the Wongs own the restaurant but not the property/building.

  • Steve March 22, 2023 (7:58 am)

    Whoever commented that the Chinese food at the West Seattle Bowl  was the best should get an award.That place was one of the first restaurants I ate in West Seattle. To call it pig slop would be kind. I think that providing Chinese food of Safeway quality or better is a solved issue. Unfortunately running a dive bar/crappy restaurant in an area with multimillion dollar homes steps away isn’t a solid business plan.Providing awesome General Tso Chicken at say $15-20 a pop? Yes, that could be viable, but that would require spending money on a talented chef and fresh fryer oil, and also require effort.Food fans, get to the Junction Safeway around 11am for the fresh Sesame Chicken. You’re welcome. Until then, I’ll pour my own stiff drinks with zero black mold.

  • Bobby D March 22, 2023 (10:51 am)

    Goodbye Yen Wor and all your bottom of the barrel Chinese food! Goodbye dingy ugly building! Hello another super ugly apartment bldg! Thank you for this opportunity to say how I feel! No hard feelings:)

  • Lola March 22, 2023 (11:32 am)

    Looks like it is a limited menu to choose from.  Will be getting some food one last time just for the memories.  Sad to see them go as they have been in West Seattle for a very long time.  Thank you for bringing us such happiness over the years. 

  • Wendell March 22, 2023 (1:11 pm)

    I have better memories of The Doghouse, downtown. Went to the Young Wh**e twice – over 20 years ago. I’m still traumatized.

  • Zoe March 22, 2023 (7:02 pm)

    why are all these comments so negative? y’all need some hobbies for real. much love to yen wor and the family. :)

  • Tony March 22, 2023 (8:51 pm)

    There goes my favorite karaoke bar. I’m gonna miss this place.

  • Track suit March 22, 2023 (11:55 pm)

    If you haven’t had 1 (or 2, 3, 4, 5…) absolutely epic nights here, you missed it!  This is sad news and will be going back for one last Jell-O shot before they close! Thanks for the memories Yen Wor!  

  • Dre March 23, 2023 (8:58 am)

    I’ll never forget Christmas Eve 2019 filled with Jell-O shots and Sex Shooter by Prince being belted from the karaoke booth. You can’t make magic like this up. Thanks Yen Wor :) 

  • Sparky March 24, 2023 (7:26 am)

    All this debate about where to get or not get good Chinese food is so off base.  The real question is…where will people go to tie one on until they blow chunks on the sidewalk and wake up in a stranger’s front yard with no memory of how they got there?  The Nook, Otter on the Rocks and Arthur’s are much too sophisticated (and expensive) for such an epic night.  The Admiral Pub better order a pallet of jello.  That’s all I’ve got to say.  

    • Derek March 24, 2023 (11:54 am)

      Admiral is lacking so hard since Parliament closed. Sad. 

  • Peggy sue March 26, 2023 (5:55 pm)

  • Ms F March 31, 2023 (12:16 pm)

    Oh NO!  I’m just learning this now.  I haven’t been here since pre-pandemic (maybe that was part of the problem), but I have SO many crazy/fun memories from this place (none of which involve food by the way): parties and impromptu gatherings with friends for karaoke… partying with the Seafair Clowns (singing “Tears of a Clown”); getting on stage with a chorus of friends to sing “We are the World.”  And just like that, the “Young Whore” is no more. :(  I wish the owners the best of luck in the future.  Thanks for the memories!

  • WS9701 March 31, 2023 (5:29 pm)

    Anyone know if they’re restaurant side is still open tonight? Or did I miss it?

    • WSB March 31, 2023 (5:49 pm)

      According to a note on the door, they closed Wednesday, contrary to original announcement.

  • Auntie March 31, 2023 (6:39 pm)

    Although I haven’t been to the YW since the 70s (guess I “aged out”) it was a neighborhood staple back then. Those of us that lived close, could crawl home. Others could crawl with us and sleep on the floor. The Good Old Days. Glad that it had many generations to follow and sorry to see it go. I’m afraid it will be replaced by a “ticky-tacky” box of not-affordable apartments or condos. So goes West Seattle, in general.

Sorry, comment time is over.