History of Sun Wah BBQ

old Sun Wah BBQ Restaurant

Sun Wah’s humble beginnings started in New York’s Chinatown. Squeezed into a nine-foot wide storefront, Eric Cheng, Sun Wah’s founder, perfected his skills as a Hong Kong-style barbecue chef. Deciding the environment was not right to raise their family, Eric and his wife, Lynda, uprooted themselves, their four children, and Eric’s mother. The destination: Chicago

In the spring of 1987, Sun Wah opened its doors in its original Argyle Street location. For more than two decades, Sun Wah continuously attracted a number of foodies and local admirers to enjoy the profuse dishes on the menu.

As Sun Wah grew busier every year, the children became fixtures in the restaurant on weekends and holidays. Their extra hands in helping at the restaurant became a training ground for their future efforts to expand their parents’ heart and soul.

In September 2008, three of the four children (Kelly, Michael, and Laura) decided the time was ripe for them to ascend and take the little restaurant they grew up in to the next level. Over the next twelve months, they slowly adjusted themselves to take up the mantle of their positions in the restaurant, helping to make things run smoother. Kelly, with her abundant experiences in customer service and all the odd jobs Eric had given her from a young age, became the general manager. Michael, with his strong arms and penchant for cooking barbecue, apprenticed himself to his father and was appointed to head the barbecue department. Laura, the culinary student from Kendall, utilizes the skills she learned in school to provide the best quality ingredients available and transform them into luscious delights.

5039 N Broadway, Chicago, IL 60640

The final transition took place in September 2009, when the family closed the doors to their Argyle Street home of 22½ years and moved around the corner to the current Broadway location. With their crew, the family built the new space from scratch, lovingly laying in every brick and tile. Wanting to create a space that would feel like home for themselves and their customers, the resulting fruit of their labor has an airy feel with the open space and barrel roof ceiling. The current space boasts a seating capacity of 241 and is four times the size of the original store.

The family and crew of Sun Wah hope you will enjoy the food, the space, and become a part of their story.