By Simone Tong, Chef-Owner and Emmeline Zhao, GM and Partner
Restaurants are a living, breathing body. And they grow and evolve with the neighborhoods they’re in, with the people who build them, and especially with the people who dine in them. The East Village has transformed so much in the two-plus years since Little Tong introduced mixian to the neighborhood, and in those 25 months, Little Tong changed dramatically, as well.
We’ve developed deep, personal relationships with our frequent and occasional diners, all of whom have expanded our horizons. We’ve been awestruck and galvanized by the genius of other chefs and industry professionals, alongside whom we’ve cooked and served thousands of curious and intelligent food-and-beverage fanatics. We’ve been invigorated every time a new Chinese restaurant joined our neighborhood, giving a forward push to a cultural and culinary movement that has earned East Village the moniker “Chinatown North.”
That’s all to say that Little Tong has gone through a bit of a metamorphosis, and this could very well just be one of any number of phases, but it’s certainly time. The restaurant launched on the foundation of mixian, inspired by the Yunnan province of China. But that inspiration has grown deeper and broader. What makes the province so compelling is its respect for diversity, its commitment to the land and the seasons, and its values of community and shared experiences. These are the inspirations on which this next stage of Little Tong is founded upon — from the Tristate’s dynamic agriculture, from our diners and peers, from our shared experiences, and from our neighbors in the East Village.
About Little Tong
Located in the East Village, Little Tong pays homage to the culinary bounties of China’s vibrant Yunnan province. Led by Chef Simone Tong, a native of Chengdu and an alum of Wylie Dufresne’s wd~50, the East Village restaurant’s revamped menu reflects Chef Tong’s passion for seasonal, ingredient-driven dishes and provides guests with an innovative dining experience.
Little Tong’s casual, noodle-focused Midtown East outpost, Little Tong Noodle Shop, opened in 2018 and highlights mixian, the rice noodle dishes indigenous to Yunnan, to stay or to go, as well as creative, fan-favorite JB Melt scallion pancake sandwiches.
In late summer 2019, Chef Tong will open Silver Apricot, a full-service Chinese-inspired restaurant at 20 Cornelia Street in the West Village.