Duck Chang’s, a family restaurant that set its roots down in Annandale nearly 50 years ago, is charting an uncertain future.
Located in a strip mall at 4427 John Marr Drive, the restaurant — which has been in the Chang family for generations — has launched a crowdfunding campaign to cover more than $100,000 in renovations that the property’s new owners asked the restaurant to complete.
Multiple requests to reach the property owner were unsuccessful. The property manager declined a request for comment from FFXnow.
Duck Man Ming started the family restaurant in Annandale in 1975 when he immigrated to the United States with a dream.
The restaurant business was not unfamiliar territory for Man Ming, who worked alongside his father as an apprentice in Peking, China, which is now Beijing.
He served as the chief banquet chef for the King of Thailand before coming to the U.S. in 1970. After settling in the U.S., Man Ming opened the Annandale restaurant, followed by an Alexandria location in 1982.
The current owner’s grandmother — now 89 years old and affectionately dubbed “Mamma Chang” by frequent patrons — still greets customers at the door when they enter.
Duck Chang’s prides itself on serving its signature Peking duck without advance ordering at a time when other restaurants required up to eight hours of notice.
The Changs want to keep that family spirit alive as they determine what to do next amidst what they say is unclear communication from their landlord.
Peter Chang, who now helps manage the restaurant, says the landlord — listed in state records as El Segundo VA, Inc — asked the business to fully renovate the space in order to renew the restaurant’s lease in August.
Negotiations are currently underway, according to the restaurant.
Negotiations come as the Annandale shopping center faces an exodus. AnnSandra, a gift shop, plans to close on March 31, following the closure of Party City in 2020 and Annandale Cleaners last year.
Chang says the thought of scouting for other locations is daunting, particularly as inflation, high costs and the pandemic drive further uncertainty in the restaurant industry.
“We’re barely crawling out of the pandemic. Is this a good time to make a move anywhere?” Chang said. “There’s a lot on our plate and we have no idea what’s going on. That’s probably the most frustrating part.”
He also notes that renovating the property — which was built in the early 1960s — is a significant task that could require hundreds of thousands of dollars.
The saga began the day before Christmas Eve when the family discovered the restaurant was marketed on a real estate website as available for rent. The post has since been removed.
So far, Duck Chang’s GoFundMe campaign has raised nearly $52,000 of its $100,000 goal.
Kinlon Chang, Duck Man Ming’s grandson, hopes that the restaurant’s longevity “speaks for itself.”
“Many of our long time customers have been coming since before I was born and we have watched families grow and prosper while enjoying our famous Peking Duck,” Kinlon Chang wrote. “In the midst of the COVID 19 pandemic where many families were affected, we moved to carry out to ensure that we could continue to share our wonderful food, but now our family has met a roadblock that we cannot overcome alone.”
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