Welcome to Meanwhile in the SGV, a regular update of San Gabriel Valley’s bustling restaurant and dining scene from roving reporter Jim Thurman. This month, another iconic SGV favorite has closed, a leading East SGV dim sum spot heads west, and Nothingness pushes back its opening again.
Monterey Park: 2018 has been terrible for closures of iconic SGV favorites: Old Country Café, Shen Yang, and now, Dean Sin World. Window notes and an almost empty space greet passersby. The absolute definition of a homey hole-in-the wall, the tiny Shanghainese small plate and pastry restaurant routinely made “best of” lists, and even made past versions of Eater LA’s Essential 38 restaurants. Dean Sin World, often shortened as DSW, served soup dumplings, crab shell “cakes”, pan-fried bao, and lion’s head soup. It was affordable, easy-going, fun, and delicious. And proprietor Mrs. Lu always brought a warmth to the service and space. No word on any relocation plans. 306 N. Garfield Ave., Suite 2
San Gabriel: Fans of thunderbolt frog continue to wait, as Sichuan restaurant Nothingness has again pushed back their re-opening date, this time to June 15. The restaurant has been closed since February due to a burst water pipe that flooded the premises. This is the second time the reopening date has been pushed back, leading to concerns that there may be some deeper issues with Nothingness. Word is the landlord still hasn’t made repairs that they promised to make. Fingers crossed that the restaurant meets that new opening timeframe. 288 S. San Gabriel Blvd., Suite 103/104
Rowland Heights: The replacement for Qingdao Seafood Village will be Happy Tree House BBQ, which is now under renovation. A motto appears on a banner reading: “Best lifestyle with BBQ & beer.” It’s hard to disagree with that mission statement. 18904 E. Gale Ave.
Rowland Heights: Yan’s House, one of the few restaurants that continued to serve Shaanxi cuisine, has closed. They served “Chinese hamburgers”, lamb noodle with pita bread (yang rou pao mo), and mung bean noodles. Its replacement will be Yummy University, which features a wide selection of Taiwanese snack/street food and breakfast. It’s worth noting that another Taiwanese snack spot is just three doors down. 18311 Colima Rd., Suite B
Alhambra: A trio of food establishments have opened at the front of the 99 Ranch Supermarket, Chibiscus Ramen, Half and Half Boba Express, and QiWei Kitchen. They feature, respectively: ramen, boba and tea drinks, and single-serve Wuhan-style dry pot. This is Chibiscus’ third location, joining spots in Pasadena and West Hollywood. Meanwhile, it’s the second (or third?) Qi Wei Kitchen, and at least the ninth Half and Half variant. 345 E. Main St.
San Gabriel: There have been some classic tea house names, with Whatever being one of the best. Now there’s the Unknown Tea House. A small menu of unique, signature drinks using higher quality tea with fresh fruit juices/pulp are featured. For example, the Grass Hopper, which has cucumber juice with Sakura Mountain green tea. There are also cheese foam-topped teas and cheese foam-topped slushes. This space has hosted perhaps five tea houses in its past, with Mrs. Charming Drinks & Cakes as the latest one. 1245 S. San Gabriel Blvd.