The Soo Hoo family will reopen Harrison Cafe, founded in 2001 and closed for renovations in August 2014, as Jook Sing Cafe on May 7, Jadine Soo Hoo tells Eater, explaining the meaning behind the new name:
"The term Jook Sing translates to Hollow Bamboo and is a slang that refers to an American Born Chinese (ABC). Bamboo is hollow and compartmentalized, thus water poured in one end does not flow out of the other end. The metaphor is that Jook Sings are not part of either culture: water within the jook sing does not flow and connect to either end.
We are first, second and third generation Jook Sings. We identify with this term in a positive way. Growing up in Boston's Chinatown, we were raised with our parents' cultural background and heritage but also adapted to our American surroundings. We got the best of both worlds."
The Soo Hoo family patriarch, Hing, was the original chef/owner at Chinatown Cafe, also on Harrison Avenue, but he sold it several years ago "in hopes of retiring." He couldn't stay out of the business for long, according to Jadine, who continues: "His famous recipes stayed within the family. His love for food and the great interaction he had with his customers called him back into the restaurant business."
The Soo Hoos' revamped restaurant will combine "American, Italian, and an array of Asian cuisines into one delicious restaurant." Hing travels around the world to "taste and experience different cuisines," hence the global influences on the menu. The food is meant to be "casual...reminiscent of mom's home cooking."
Here's a peek at 25-foot bamboo mural along the wall of the restaurant.