Popular New York Chinese food chain Xi’an Famous Foods has raised more than $73,000 for the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline in honor of the late American chef Anthony Bourdain. Bourdain died by suicide last week at age 61.
The author and presenter had expressed his love for Xi’an Famous Foods on his show No Reservations. What was at the time a small stall selling Western Chinese food in Flushing, Queens, saw huge growth after the episode aired and today has 12 locations dotted across the city.
Thanking the celebrity chef for the restaurant’s success, Xi’an Famous Foods CEO Jason Wang wrote on Instagram that Bourdain “may have no idea what he has done for our family and business by simply saying he enjoyed the food.” As a tribute, the company revealed it would donate 100 percent of its stores’ June 8 net sales to the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline.
In response, fans of Bourdain turned up to Xi’an Famous Foods locations in droves. Reports revealed the company’s sales almost doubled on Friday, with its Greenpoint location running out of food an hour before closing. Overall, the company raised $73,509.76.
Wang’s heartfelt Instagram note can be read in full below.
Today's a day of extreme sadness for us here at Xi'an Famous Foods. I've lost a dear friend today, and we mourn with the rest of the world. I remember the time in 2007 when Tony first visited our basement food stall in Flushing for Travel Channel's No Reservations while I was still in college (even though I didn't know who he was at the time). I remember my father preparing interesting off-menu dishes to get his opinion on when he visited our store. I remember years later in 2015 after interviewing together for an article, I approached Tony and told him, while he may have no idea what he has done for our family and business by simply saying he enjoyed the food, I wanted him to know it helped bring our family out from living in one room in Flushing to living the American dream. We were able to grow our business and provide great food for our guests, and opportunities for our employees. I looked at him in the eyes and said, this is something we will always be thankful for, Tony. And he simply replied, "I'm just calling out good food like it is, that's all." In honor of his memory and all of those dear people who left us all too early, and in taking whatever action we can to prevent suicide in the US, Xi'an Famous Foods will be donating 100% of our net sales on June 8, 2018, from all of our stores, to the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline 1-800-273-TALK @800273talk. Please cherish all of our lives and help those who may be struggling. Rest in peace, Tony, and the most sincere condolences to Tony's beloved family. ~Jason Wang, CEO … [UPDATE 6/11/18: With your heartfelt support, along with the hard work of our store staff, we were able to serve almost double the amount of dishes as usual during dinner on Friday 6/8/18, with some stores selling out of items towards the end of the night. We were able to raise $73,509.76 (net sales) to donate to the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline '1-800-273-TALK (8255)' to help their work in suicide prevention. Thank you for helping us with this tribute to our friend.]
In case you missed it, here are our favorite Anthony Bourdain clips of all time.
If you or someone you know is having suicidal thoughts, there are resources to help you. The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline provides 24/7, free, and confidential support for people in distress, prevention and crisis resources for you or your loved ones. You can call directly at 1-800-273-8255. In the UK, you can contact Samaritans at 116 123.