More Culture:

May 24, 2024

Cheu Noodle Bar, Bing Bing Dim Sum set to close this summer

The Fishtown ramen restaurant will close on June 7, and the East Passyunk dumpling spot will follow on July 21, their owners say.

Food & Drink Restaurants
Bing Bing Cheu Thom Carroll/for PhillyVoice

Bing Bing Dim Sum, above at 1648 E. Passyunk Ave., will close on July 21 after more than nine years in business. Owners Shawn Darragh and Ben Puchowitz also are closing Fishtown's Cheu Noodle Bar on June 7.

East Passyunk's Bing Bing Dim Sum and Fishtown's Cheu Noodle Bar — both staples of Philly's food scene over the last decade — will be closing this summer.

The co-owners of the restaurants, Shawn Darragh and chef Ben Puchowitz, said Cheu Noodle Bar will close June 7. Bing Bing Dim Sum wiill shut down after dinner service on July 21. 

MORE: Pizza Brain to close Fishtown shop and search for new home

"We are grateful for all the customers who have supported us and a huge thanks to the employees who have helped us build some super special places," they wrote in an Instagram post Friday. "Some circumstances at both restaurants have caused these closures to be a bit sooner than we would have liked, but hopefully there is enough time for everyone to come by for a visit and show our staff some appreciation."

In a phone call, Darragh said the decision to close the restaurants was due to changes at the properties where they've been tenants. 

"They're both kind of timing of landlord things — and life," he said. 

Neither of the issues are disputes, but circumstances at both locations meant they had to plan for closures, he said. At Bing Bing Dim Sum, the restaurant's 10-year lease at 1648 E. Passyunk Ave. was coming to an end and the landlord has extensive work to do on the property. 

Darragh said he has a good relationship with the landlord and they want to work out a new lease to go into effect after the renovations are finished. If that happens, the future restaurant would have a "completely different" concept. A timeline for that possibility is too soon to say, but Darragh said he and Puchowitz "definitely" are aiming for a new chapter in Philly's food scene. 

Cheu Noodle Bar's building, at 1420 Frankford Ave., recently was purchased by new owners who offered Darragh and Puchowitz the chance to end their lease early. Cheu will have to close sooner than Bing Bing because the owners sold their liquor license, giving them a shorter window to shut the restaurant down.

Staff at both locations were informed of the pending closures Thursday. 

Darragh and Puchowitz opened Cheu Noodle Bar, their ramen and Southeast Asian concept, in 2013 at 255 S. 10th St. They opened their larger location in Fishtown in 2016, and closed the South Philly spot in 2020. Bing Bing Dim Sum, their dumpling spot, opened in 2015 after they had been traveling in Hong Kong and Japan. The restaurant replaced the former El Zarape, offering ample outdoor seating and vibrant decor that made it a neighborhood mainstay. 

The owners also opened their former Fishtown izakaya Nunu in 2018, but closed that restaurant last year. The space at 1414 Frankford Ave. is now cocktail bar Next of Kin, which plans to remain at the location, Darragh said. 

Commenters on Instagram reacted to the pending closures with shock and sadness.

"A great loss for the city. I will miss those cheesesteak bao dearly," one commenter wrote.

When Bing Bing Dim Sum opened, Puchowitz said he tried to bring the full range of his culinary training into the menu.

"I'm using what I've learned in fine dining and French kitchen technique — so it always kind of turns out a little different than what would regularly be an authentic Chinese dumpling," he told PhillyVoice at the time.

Darragh said Friday that it's an unusual end for two restaurants that have developed loyal followings. 

"It's a weird one. It's tough for us to close busy restaurants," Darragh said. "It's odd, but it's just the timing of things that needed to happen." 

The Instagram post encouraged people to visit both restaurants before they close for good.

"Come out and say goodbye and have a few last slurps," the owners said.