Point Park University's Student-Run Newspaper

Point Park Globe

Point Park University's Student-Run Newspaper

Point Park Globe

Point Park University's Student-Run Newspaper

Point Park Globe

Mandarin Gourmet to shut down after 40 years in business

Photo by Caleb McCartney
Mei Mei’s Mandarin Gourmet. a Point Park community staple restaurant, is set to close at the end of the month.

Mandarin Gourmet is set to close their doors at the end of the month according to an Instagram story shared last Wednesday. Mandarin Gourmet has been around for 40 years, but on September 29, the restaurant will stop serving food and business will cease.

Debbie Wason, a junior dance major, said that while she has only been to the restaurant a handful of times, she is “sad” to see the place close.

“Mandarin is so close to campus, and it was an iconic place to walk by,” Wason said. “Where am I going to get Chinese food now?”

Kairi Stallsmith, a junior history education major, worked at Mandarin Gourmet for about a week last year and is “really sad” about the announcement.

“When I saw the Instagram post, I thought it was fake at first,” Stallsmith said. “They have really become a staple of Point Park Culture.”

Stallsmith, who is also a tour guide, said they mention Mandarin Gourmet on their tours because “it means so much to us.”

“I just wish the best for Will and the staff,” Stallsmith said. “Being told that they are going to be without a job at the end of the month during an ongoing housing crisis is an awful situation, and I hope they are able to secure jobs. I know Will had a child recently, so my heart goes out to him and his family.”

During an interview with the lead server of the restaurant, Will Qian, stated that a developer from Chicago has bought the building, which was once the Young Women’s Christian Association (YWCA), and will be turning it into an upscale apartment complex. The Center for Media Innovation (CMI) was relocated to West Penn this past April because of this sale as well. 

The Globe has previously reported on the sale. Back in July 2021, a proposal for the YWCA building to consist of a “20-story tower with 300 apartments” on top of the current complex was ratified by the Pittsburgh Zoning Board of Adjustment, according to the Trib.

The developer who has purchased the facility, City Club Apartments, LLC, has stated that they do not plan to completely demolish the entire building structure. Instead, they intend to use the existing YWCA as the base for the apartment complex, with the main floor consisting of a “restaurant and the three below-ground floors to be used for a public health club.”

Along with the reconstruction, City Club Apartments said the tower would not use the entire vicinity already constructed in the YWCA building and would instead have a “narrow profile” and be pushed “approximately 25’ from the facade of the existing building on Wood Street.”

“Does the city really need more apartments?” Stallsmith said. “I think it would’ve been smart to make Mandarin the restaurant under the apartments and give discounts to residents.”

According to Qian, who has been working with the company for 10 years, the restaurant has not been seeing the same traffic since COVID-19 hit, and this has had a tremendous impact on the business. 

The closing of Mandarin Gourmet comes after the last Downtown McDonald’s closed this past April.

“Mandarin was more affordable compared to other places Downtown,” Wason said. “If I want to go out to dinner with my roommates, it can get very pricey here.”

Mandarin Gourmet wasn’t just a restaurant, however, as it once doubled as a set for Tom Hanks movie A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood. The film was shot here in Pittsburgh and the film crew used Mandarin Gourmet as one of the locations. The iconic booth in which he sat can also be seen in the film.

View Comments (1)
More to Discover

Comments (1)

All Point Park Globe Picks Reader Picks Sort: Newest

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

  • P

    Patricia D CherryJan 7, 2024 at 9:43 am

    Pricing us oo out neighborhoods is a new Pittsburgh thing. We residents can’t afford to eat in town. Oh one Arby’s. No restrooms unless you can eat. You expect us to porta potty. Would you? All busses go thru town. To get to our minimum wage jobs we get a bus to town then work. Don’t be hungry or need a rest room in route over an hour.