Chew Lam, 93, says goodbye, closes King's Restaurant in West Sacramento
Sunday is the last day of business for King’s Restaurant, the West Sacramento dim sum eatery with roots dating to 1960.
For decades, the restaurant at 1500 W. Capitol Ave. was overseen by China native Chew Lam. Longtime employee Jennifer Dong said last week that Lam, now in his 90s, is finally ready to retire.
“It’s about time to retire, right?” said Dong, who said she will return to Hong Kong after the restaurant closes.
Lam was born in Canton, China, and raised there by his mother and grandfather while his father supported them with a Sacramento laundry business, then an herbal medicine shop on I Street. Lam worked the rice fields in China, went to school and in 1947 married a woman selected by a matchmaker. They had a son in 1949.
That same year, Lam boarded a Philippine Airlines flight to Manila, then Honolulu and San Francisco. It was his first experience flying. He eventually made his way to Sacramento to help in the herb shop, subsequently working at various jobs, including a restaurant started with $6,000.
He later went looking for a new spot that would ultimately evolve into “King’s,” an Anglicization of the middle word in his birth name: Bing Keung Wong. He took the name Lam during immigration.
The restaurant had mixed success until 1980, when Lam added dim sum to the menu. That move brought in crowds of loyal customers, who made the restaurant a regular stop over the decades.
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Open & Shuttered, a rundown of recently opened and closed businesses in the Sacramento area, will appear periodically in The Bee's Sunday Business section.