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May 19, 2020

Popular Malaysian restaurant Saté Kampar on East Passyunk closes, citing lease issue

The BYO hopes to find a new location as owner navigates complexity of COVID-19 crisis

Food & Drink Restaurants
Sate Kampar COVID Saté Kampar/Facebook

Saté Kampar, a Malaysian BYO on East Passyunk Avenue, will close until it is able to find a new location. Owner Ange Branca said the lease expired amid the COVID-19 crisis and the restaurant was unable to reach a new agreement.

The owners of Saté Kampar on East Passyunk Avenue have closed the South Philly restaurant after they were unable to negotiate a new lease amid the COVID-19 crisis.

The popular Malaysian BYO opened in 2016 to critical acclaim, receiving a nod from the James Beard Foundation the following year as a semifinalist for Best New Restaurant. Its introduction of the Malaysian street food saté — seasoned and skewered meats served with a sauce — was paired with a menu of other regional cuisine and coffee.

In a statement on Facebook, owner Ange Branca explained that she plans to reopen the restaurant in the future at another location.

"We are so, so sad to share this news," Branca said. "We are closing Saté Kampar on East Passyunk Ave. This is a temporary set back for us. We plan to reopen in some form somewhere else as soon as possible. Thank you for all the years of support. We have loved serving all of you, and the community, so much. We will be back."

A GoFundMe page set up by Branca elaborated further on the situation.

"In the middle of this pandemic our lease has ended, and we need to find a new location. We are so very sad to leave the space we built from scratch; every inch of it tells the story of where we come from and reflects a memory lost in time," Branca wrote. "Over the past 5 years, we have enjoyed sharing our food and culture with all of you and we have loved every minute of it."

During the COVID-19 crisis, the restaurant has continued to make meals for front-line workers and retained its staff. It will continue to do so during the restaurant's transition at an alternate kitchen space.

"Many of us can not afford or have no access to healthcare, and we need to continue to serve where there is a need so that we can make ends meet with funding from these programs and initiatives that we do for the community," Branca wrote.

The fundraiser aims to help the restaurant stay afloat during the search for a new home.

"We have enjoyed creating a space where diversity comes together to eat, a place that means community, a place that adds color to the fabric of Philadelphia, a place where memories are created, times celebrated and moments shared," Branca wrote. "We are determined to find a new location where we can rebuild."