Beloved Restaurant Closes

Beloved Rice Village restaurant to shutter soon: Landlord has other plans for prime property

Beloved Rice Village restaurant to shutter soon; looks for new locale

Yum Yum Cha Rice Village cafe closed sign
Rice Village dim sum favorite Yum Yum Cha has lost its lease. Photo by Eric Sandler

For a decade, Yum Yum Cha Cafe has served Chinatown-quality dim sum to inner Loopers at its cozy restaurant in the heart of Rice Village, but the days of BYOB and shumai are coming to an end. The restaurant announced this week with a sign on its that it has lost its lease and will close no later than June 15 (sign first spotted by popular local bartender Linda Salinas).  

Owner Lisa Mak tells CultureMap that Rice University, which purchased the property that contains Yum Yum Cha in February through the Rice Management Company, would only offer a six-month renewal on the restaurant's lease. She isn't sure what the university's long-term plans are, but tearing down the building may be a possibility.

"They can't decide what they're going to do (with the building)," Mak explains. "They're biding their time."

Mak says she and her father, who serves as Yum Yum Cha's chef, are looking forward to a bit of a break, but they're also on the hunt for a new location. So far, they've been scouting spaces in the city of Bellaire, but finding something at a reasonable price has proven difficult. 

"This area is practically impossible to find restaurant spaces. We want to stay within the Loop," Mak says.  In the meantime, they're exploring the possibility of pop-ups or serving at farmers markets. Follow the Yum Yum Cha Facebook page for updates. 

Just as Van Loc did when it closed last year, Yum Yum Cha is only promising to stay open while its ingredients last. If diners respond with a similar frenzy, the last day could come much more quickly than June 15. If getting one last order of soup dumplings or asparagus in oyster sauce is important, act fast.