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Saving West Seattle's iconic Yen Wor Village

Community rallies around legendary Chinese restaurant and Karaoke Bar. #k5evening

SEATTLE — The Yen Wor Village in West Seattle is a well known Chinese restaurant and karaoke bar. It's also a family-owned business — the Wongs have owned and operated it since 1989. Recently, co-owners and husband and wife Gary and Wendy Wong have had a rough go of it. 

Gary Wong got COVID-19 in 2020, and while battling the disease in the ICU, he suffered an immobilizing stroke. Then, Wendy Wong fell while walking her dog and broke her neck and back. Now she too has difficulty with mobility. The pandemic, plus these personal setbacks, have made keeping this restaurant in the black and operational a challenge. 

As the couple recovers, their sons Larry and Isaac are stepping in to keep the Yen Wor going, Larry as a manager and Isaac as a cook. They have pivoted to takeout food (there are still a couple of booths for indoor dining, and anyone over 21 can dine in the bar). Ping pong and pool tables have replaced the ones once used for family-style feasting. But the place is best known for legendary karaoke nights — they're even holding Karaoke World Championship Qualifiers on May 18th. 

Karaoke host Rachael Reis helped Saint and Angela live their karaoke dreams in tonight's show — and then showed them how it's done with her great vocals. 

Fans of this place call themselves 'Yen Worriors' and they have launched a 'Save the Yen Wor' Go Fund Me page to keep Yen Wor Village alive during this difficult time, support that means the world to the Wong family.

"It warms the heart, seeing the community come together," Larry Wong said. "It means a lot, to me and my family and the workers here, and to our community. One of the big things is to just keep this institution alive."

Lovers of karaoke, jello shots, and perfect handmade pot-stickers agree, Yen Wor Village must be saved.

"Another 30 or more years, let's go!" smiled Larry Wong.

Brett Amaker & The Rodeo will play a benefit concert for the Yen Wor on Tuesday, May 17th, and there will be karaoke after the show! 

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