Xiao Ye was a good place. It was small and cozy and it stayed open late. The hip-hop hummed faintly through the door and onto the mouth of Orchard Street as it peeled off Houston and into the Lower East Side. Sam Sifton may have scoffed at the beef ribs, perhaps, but some things won over the picky New York Times food critic: the General Tso prawns, the noodle bowls, the bubble tea with Johnny Walker Black mixed in. We can attest: The modest little spot was a great one.
Xiao Ye, of course, was nothing without the Bao-borne svengali behind it: Eddie Huang. His enthusiasm knew no limits: Dipset and dumplings, blogging and Banh Mi, mixed drinks and his mother. But it was an affinity for Four Loko – an affinity quite possibly unmatched in all the five boroughs – that defines him. Unfortunately, his love for the now-banned, caffeine-blasted beverage also led to his demise.
Eater reports that Xiao Ye served its last customers this weekend, and is now in the process of taking apart the place. He will go back to the kitchen at his sandwich restaurant Baohous six days a week.
The trouble began with Haung’s Four Loko Thursdays, an exuberant and raucous night that The Observer had the pleasure of experiencing. We were lucky enough to stop by when we did, because days later the restaurant was subjected to three seperate raids. Eddie told Eater that cops informed him that such a crackdown on a restaurant was extremely rare. Loko is now banned in New York, but faced with the threat of losing his liquor licence entirely, Huang chose to shut the place down.
The upbeat owner claims he has other projects in the works, but even Eddie would admit that something like Four Loko Thursday may be hard to replicate. If you stockpiled any of the beloved beverage and plan on cracking one open tonight, pour some out for General Loko and his lost restaurant.