Restaurant Owner Who Says Anthony Bourdain Changed Their Lives Donate Profits To Suicide Prevention Hotline
Published in Jun 2018 / Updated in Aug 2021
The CEO of a popular New York City restaurant, who said Anthony Bourdain changed his family’s life, donates profits to the National Suicide Prevention Hotline.
Xi’an Famous Foods got its start with its hand-pulled noodles at a small stand in Flushing, Queens.
But that all changed when the late celebrity chef, Anthony Bourdain, visited the food stall for his show No Reservations on the Travel Channel.
Jason Wang, the CEO and son of Xi’an Famous Foods founder, recalled how Bourdain changed the future of their family business.
Wang’s family-owned restaurant was founded in 2005, and its original location was in the basement of the Golden Shopping Mall.
But Bourdain’s visit in 2007 caused the restaurant’s popularity to boom overnight.
Xi’an Famous Foods now has more than 12 branches across New York City, and Wang says it is all thanks to Bourdain.
“I remember years later in 2015 after interviewing together for an article. I approached Tony and told him, while he may have no idea what he has done for our family and business by simply saying he enjoyed the food, I wanted him to know it helped bring our family out from living in one room in Flushing. To living the American dream.”
“We were then able to grow our business and provide great food for our guests and opportunities for our employees.”
Speaking about Bourdain, he said:
“I looked at him in the eyes and said, this is something we will always be thankful for, Tony. And he simply replied, ‘I’m just calling out good food like it is, that’s all.'”
Wang then said he would honor Bourdain’s memory by donating to the suicide prevention hotline.
“In honor of [Bourdain’s] memory and all of those dear people who left us all too early, and in taking whatever action we can to prevent suicide in the US, Xi’an Famous Foods will be donating 100% of our net sales… to the National Suicide Prevention Hotline.”
“Please cherish all of our lives and help those who may be struggling. Rest in peace, Tony, and the most sincere condolences to Tony’s beloved family.”
According to reports, Wang donated around $60,000 to the suicide prevention hotline.
Bourdain has visited Xi’an Famous Foods several times since 2007. And each time, Wang said, his father would whip up a new dish and test it out on his most influential customer.
“My dad would use it as an excuse to say, ‘Well, Tony liked it, so we should probably sell it.’ But I think Tony was being more respectful, like if your grandmother were cooking for you. That’s the kind of guy he was.”
Wang added that his father was saddened to hear of Bourdain’s death. The family later agreed it was important to pay tribute to him with more than just condolences.
Bourdain was on a trip to France to film a Parts Unknown episode about Alsatian food when he committed suicide. His filming crew discovered his body at a hotel room where he was staying.