A Chinese restaurant that has been part of the local dining landscape for decades through different incarnations may be down to its last few days.
Jung’s Golden Dragon II, at 3009 Magazine St., could close as early as next week, said proprietor Jung Tan. The kitchen is still pumping out orders of dumplings, shrimp toast and sesame beef, but Tan is already packing boxes of mementos that once decorated the walls.
“It is sad for me, but after all these years it is time for me to retire,” said Tan, now 71.
She said possible new owners are considering buying the restaurant, which could mean the name would continue. However these prospective buyers are considering a dual Chinese and Japanese menu with a sushi bar, which would mark a big change. The restaurant is equipped with a sushi bar, a hold-over from an earlier business here, but Tan never used it for sushi.
Tan immigrated from China to the U.S. in the 1970s and came to New Orleans to study hospitality and tourism management at the University of New Orleans. A year after graduating, she opened Jung’s Golden Dragon with her parents in 1977.
For many years the restaurant was located in Metairie, near the Clearview Mall, serving a menu of familiar American Chinese restaurant dishes (lemon chicken, egg rolls, broccoli with beef) and more traditional Chinese fare.
Eventually, Tan began introducing more and more of the traditional dishes, many based on the recipes her mother brought from China. By the time she moved to Magazine Street in 2010, she had significantly expanded the menu with a wide range of mostly Szechuan style dishes, for a restaurant she dubbed Jung’s Golden Dragon II, like a movie sequel.
The small restaurant along a stretch of Magazine Street filled with shops and other restaurants developed a regular local clientele.
Many have been visiting Tan in recent days asking her to stay open. But after 45 years in the business and through the difficulties of the pandemic and ensuing higher costs and staffing issues she said she was ready to retire.
“I am proud of the reputation I built up over the years,” she said. “I introduced Chinese culture to my customers through food, that’s what I’ll miss. And I learned a lot too, from my customers.”
3009 Magazine St., (504) 891-8280