Kwok’s Bistro in downtown Reno closing temporarily

Family owners taking a break after pandemic

PHOTO/GOOGLE: Kwok's Bistro in downtown Reno, famed for its pork belly bao and other Chinese dishes, is closing on June 24, 2021, for a few weeks so the family owners can regroup.

Kwok’s Bistro, one of Reno’s most beloved restaurants, is closing tonight, June 24, but not permanently.

“We just need to take some time off for ourselves and just regroup and restructure ourselves,” said Danny Nguyen, the manager of the restaurant. Nguyen’s father, Kwok Chen, one of the region’s finest chefs, owns the Chinese bistro.

“It’s just a hard time to own restaurant in Reno right now,” Nguyen add, citing the difficulty in obtaining staff and his father’s prodigious work ethic, which has left him “super stressed” during the pandemic and the restaurant’s subsequent reopening in late March.

“Everybody is stretched kind of thin.”

Nguyen said the family hopes to reopen Kwok’s Bistro sometime in July with a slimmed down menu that will be easier for Chen, who touches every dish, to execute.

Adding to the challenges facing the restaurant is its small size: just 20 seats. “That size doesn’t really work when you still try do social distancing. It’s so confusing right now. Do we keep on following the guidelines? Do we throw them in the trash?

“I got COVID last Thanksgiving, and I still can’t taste everything.”

Kwok’s Bistro debuted in March 2018 in the old China Diner space in downtown Reno. Before opening his eponymous restaurant, Chen was chef and co-owner of Jazmine restaurant in South Reno and, prior to that, executive chef at Golden Fortune in the Eldorado, easily the best Chinese restaurant ever in Northern Nevada.

Johnathan L. Wright is the food and drink writer for Reno News & Review. Follow him on Twitter at @ItsJLW. Sign up here for the Reno News & Review free weekly newsletter.

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