Like many of you who live here in the Twin Cities and had ever eaten at this restaurant, I’m a fan and a friend of Peking Garden and I want to help. It is upsetting and heart-breaking to see the unspeakable act happened to George Floyd, but it also sadden me and many others to see the destructions of businesses like Peking Garden. The damages are beyond what the eyes can see and tens of thousands of dollars worth of inventories were lost. Here are some words from the restaurant owner’s daughter, Ashley:
“It is rare that I ever turn to social media to disseminate my personal feelings. Tonight is an exception. My family's restaurant was broken into and destroyed. My grandfather, Wu, moved our entire family to the United States in 1983. Like many other immigrants at the time, he had hopes and dreams that America would provide his children a better life. He was right. In 1992, my family moved to Minnesota after we were given the opportunity to help start a restaurant in Columbia Heights. The whole family pitched in. We worked day-in and day-out. One day, we were given the opportunity to own our own restaurant. We were all in. We missed birthdays, recitals, and holidays to make our dreams into something. It took years to build, and it was destroyed in seconds.
“I mourn and grieve over the loss of George. I stand by those who stand up for him when he no longer can. But I am also left with a singular question: What did my family do to deserve this and where is our justice? We can rebuild old buildings into new ones, but the dreams and memories that were woven into the walls are gone forever.
“I am not calling for peace. I am not asking for the hurt to not feel broken. I am not calling for rest... but I know that we can't fix our country by breaking it.
We need to come together and stand united in our search for justice. We can’t look for justice in the fire but we still have the chance to come together and pick up the rubbles. In Chinese, the name for America is 'Mei Guo' meaning "Beautiful Country. I believe that there is hope and there will be justice—but only if we find a way to stand together.”
I so long for the day we all can be at Peking Garden again for that crispy, succulent piece of Peking duck. But for the immediate future, the Peking Garden’s hope, with all the help from fans, friends and patrons, is to be able to resume the take-out business. Please HELP Peking Garden to get back on their feet, so that we can all, soon, be able to taste their scrumptious creations, and most importantly, to restore Mr. Wu’s dream. Thank you very much!
More About Peking Garden:
Peking Garden is a multi-generational family business created by Mr. Wu, 69, who is retired but frequently visits the restaurant to ensure quality control on certain days of the week, but the restaurant is now managed by his daughter, Mary, who expressed:
“We are devastated with both the pandemic and protesting. Since the beginning of the pandemic, we were very fearful of COVID-19. However, after careful consideration and our cooks decided to stay home, I didn’t have any choice but to close Peking Garden for everyone’s health and safety. As a result, it was the most unrestful and unrelaxed days off that I have ever experienced. It was very stressful knowing the impact of the high financial overhead that Peking Garden would incur every month.”
But with encouragement from long-time patrons and friends, hope resurfaced and Mary led her own siblings back to the kitchen to keep Peking Garden running during the lockdown. “Although we only did take-out orders, it was so rewarding and we were happy to see all of the customers who came out to support us during difficult times. That was the best decision I’ve ever made,” Mary said.
The Peking Garden family were looking forward to Governor Waltz’s decision to allow restaurants to reopen. However, that excitement was turned upside down overnight with the protesting, riots, looting that took place at the Midway Center. Peking Garden supports the livelihood of five brothers and sisters, their parents and their families. While insurance may cover the physical damages to the property, it likely will not cover the loss of business or income for all of the families that rely on this restaurant. There are many uncertainties and they are not sure how long the road is ahead of them.
But over the past week, the family have heard from so many customers who have touched them with their stories and memories at Peking Garden—stories of customers who have been loyal fans for multiple generations.
“We are so touched by each of you and we sincerely hope that we will be able to rebuild and continue to serve you and your families again. Building this restaurant and serving you over the past 30 years has truly become a part of who we are. Thank you for your continued support and for demanding justice for George Floyd,” said Elissa, Mary’s oldest daughter.
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