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Dim sum palace Empress Pavilion to reopen in Chinatown

Dim sum palace Empress Pavilion to reopen in Chinatown
Empress Pavilion closed last summer and is expected to reopen under new ownership. (George Yu)

It was a sad day when 23-year-old Chinatown dim sum palace Empress Pavilion closed last summer, a casualty of escalating financial problems and declining business. In its prime, hundreds of people a day waited in line for its shrimp dumplings and turnip cakes, stuffed eggplant and steamed meatballs.

By the time the most recent owners were evicted, customers noted that it had faded, but longtime fans of the Chinatown institution were no less dejected.

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But it looks like Empress Pavilion will rise again. A banner hanging from the facade of Bamboo Plaza on Hill Street reads: "Empress Pavilion Coming Soon."

Andy Lau, owner of Ocean Seafood, another dim sum restaurant farther south on Hill Street, will take over the second-floor Empress Pavilion space (and continue operating Ocean Seafood as well). Lau didn't immediately return a call for comment, but a manager at Ocean Seafood said that the new Empress Pavilion should be open in a couple of months.

The former owner of Empress Pavilion had said that its decline was tied to the dilapidation of the building, where many ground-floor retail spaces sat empty and the escalator that led directly to the restaurant had been broken for a year. At the time, Bamboo Plaza owner Anek Bholsangngam said: "I like to see everyone have good business. We all come up together."

Bholsangngam didn't immediately return a call for comment about the building and the new Empress Pavilion.

Meanwhile, let the steam carts roll.

988 N. Hill St., Suite 201, Los Angeles.

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