Seven Treasures restaurant in Chinatown closing next week

Seven Treasures | Google Street View

Chinatown’s Seven Treasures restaurant, known for its popular barbecue pork, egg and rice plate called the 554, is closing its doors next week.

Owner Benjamin Au is ready to retire, according to his brother-in-law Frank Ting. The Cantonese restaurant at 2312 S. Wentworth Ave. will close permanently Aug. 15.

Chung Au opened the restaurant in 1986 and ran the place before retiring and handing it over to his son Benjamin. Ting, who owns his own Chinese restaurant in Des Plaines, stopped by Seven Treasures on Tuesday to help with customers.

Ting said younger generations of the family are reluctant to keep the business going. "The young kids, they don’t want to take over," he said.

Happy Lamb Hot Pot, a restaurant just down the street from Seven Treasures, will move from its current location after its lease expires and it will take over the vacant space later this year.

Ting said those nostalgic for the flavors of Seven Treasures can visit his restaurant, Wonton Gourmet, in Des Plaines. Chung Au taught him how to cook, Ting said.

Customers have flocked to Seven Treasures since hearing of the closure, hoping to have a final bite of wontons or the 554. Ting said the line of customers snaked out the door Monday night.


The 554 consists of two fried eggs, barbecue pork, rice and soy sauce. It was originally offered for $5. It is so well known that it has an entry on Urban Dictionary, an online dictionary for slang words and phrases.

The dish is popular among late-night patrons and takes its name from an old menu. The eatery is open until 2 a.m. most days unless the kitchen runs out of food.

Claire, a Pilsen resident who declined to give her last name, said Seven Treasures was her "go-to" spot for late-night eats after visiting bars with her husband.

"We love to go here, especially in the night when me and my husband are out, we are like, ‘Let’s go to Chinatown, let’s go to Seven Treasures,’" Claire said. "It’s good food and good people."

She added that she’s "going to have to find another late-night spot."

Mimi Mark, who stopped by the restaurant one last time after she heard it was closing, said she was shocked it wouldn’t be there anymore. She remembered eating there with her family when she was a kid.

"I was maybe 5 years old with parents and my grandparents. There was a big group of us, now that I think about it, I don’t know how we all sat together, maybe we all sat at different tables," Mark said. "It’s sad, but those memories will stick with me for sure."

Sharyne Moy Tu, former executive director of the Chicago Chinatown Chamber of Commerce, also visited the restaurant Tuesday after learning of its planned closure.

"I think it’s sad, but unfortunately I think it’s happening in many places," Tu said, lamenting the loss of a family-owned spot in Chicago. "But what are you going to do? The owners are elderly, and the family doesn’t want to carry on the business."

Tu said it was tradition for many in the community to visit Seven Treasures when they had a craving for wonton soup.

"It’s sad when those traditions leave us," she said.