IRVING PARK — The House of Wah Sun, a popular North Center restaurant known for its Chinese food and tiki drinks, is moving to Irving Park after losing its lease, its owner said.
Mark Chiang signed a lease to move into the former Gold Nugget Pancake House at 3234 W. Irving Park Road. The city approved his restaurant license June 23 and new signs were to be hoisted onto the building Wednesday morning.
“We’re looking at moving in over there by the end of July,” Chiang said.
Two paper signs in the Golden Nugget’s windows announced for months that Wah Sun was “coming soon.” The rest of the building remained branded with Golden Nugget signs.
But on Wednesday morning, a construction crew arrived to remove the Golden Nugget sign hanging over Irving Park Road to replace it with a House of Wah Sun sign.
The restaurant will initially be BYOB because Chiang can’t apply for a liquor license until he’s operating out of the new location, he said.
He hopes the city will approve the licenses before the end of the year so he can return to serving the restaurant’s tiki cocktails, he said.
Wah Sun has been located at 4319 N. Lincoln Ave. in North Center since 2001. It had previously been located near the Davis Theater in Lincoln Square as takeout only.
Original owner Melvin Gin sold the restaurant to Chiang in 2001 and remained as landlord until he died six years ago. His children took over the property then, Chiang said.
Chiang said he was on a month-to-month lease until he was told last year that the building had been sold to a developer.
While the original North Center location remains open, Chiang said he was close it down when the Irving Park location is ready.
Since taking over the business, House of Wah Sun’s menu has been focused on Americanized Chinese food. But once the restaurant relocates he plans to add Sichuan-style and Korean-Chinese fusion menu items based on dishes he eats at home, he said.
“I’m from South Korea and my chef, Chef Ping [Du], he’s from Sichuan. So we’re both going to bring original dishes to our customers that we’ve never really showed them before,” Chiang said.
Listen to the Block Club Chicago podcast: