A New Era for the Golden Mall

When the Golden Mall opened in Flushing, Queens, in 1990, its patrons didn’t mind getting lost within the maze of vendors in order to find chile oil-slicked noodles, chunky sea bass dumplings or cumin-scented lamb burgers.

For nearly two decades, it pioneered the food hall business model in Flushing, providing a launchpad for chains like Xi’an Famous Foods, KungFu Kitchen, Laoma Malatang and Lanzhou Handmade Noodles. The Dashan Restaurant Group started with Yozi Shanghai at the Golden Mall and eventually opened spots like Szechuan Mountain House and CheLi.

“Everybody started with nothing,” said Robert Cheng, whose family has owned the Golden Mall since 2000.

Now there are big plans to open a second location of the mall in Manhattan this summer, about a year after the original space in Flushing reopened following a major renovation.

The mall’s influence and direct role in the local immigrant food economy has been felt far and wide — from its customers to incipient entrepreneurs — and has had ripple effects on restaurateurs’ successes. It’s also helped shape how New Yorkers eat Chinese food.

Yozi, a specialist in duck noodle soups and soup dumplings. Each vendor at the Golden Mall now has its own sleekly designed dining area, a departure from the mall’s first iteration.Credit…Lanna Apisukh for The New York Times
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