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Salem Lowe, Home of the Iconic Chop Suey Sandwich, Is Making a Comeback

A pair of local restaurateurs have bought the place and are reopening it in April

A pile of bean sprouts in a cornstarchy gravy sits on a hamburger bun in a small white styrofoam container.
Salem Lowe’s chop suey sandwich.
Luke Pyenson/Eater Boston
Erika Adams is the editor of Eater Boston.

Salem Lowe, the former North Shore restaurant known as a destination for chop suey sandwiches, is reopening under new ownership. The Salem News reports that a pair of local restaurateurs have bought the shuttered spot and plan to reopen it in April.

The new owners, Kathleen Rodgers and Ryan Harriman, plan to implement a few changes under their stewardship. Notably, the restaurant will no longer be open seasonally, but rather operate year-round at the Salem Willows Park in Salem, Massachusetts. The Salem News reports that the duo are also upgrading equipment in the kitchen and tweaking some recipes, like making the noodles in-house and cooking chicken in a pressure fryer.

Most importantly, the chop suey sandwich — an iconic regional food that consists of bean sprouts and pieces of chicken cooked in a thick sauce and dolloped onto a hamburger bun — will still be on the menu at the new Salem Lowe. The restaurant’s popular pepper steak sandwich is also making a return.

Salem Lowe’s history, and how connected customers felt to the restaurant, was a major factor in Rodgers and Harriman’s decision to revive the place, according to the report. The pair also own Spitfire Tacos, a taco shop with locations in Salem and Marblehead that the two launched during the pandemic.

Salem Lowe first opened in 1912, and for the last 50 years, it had been run by David Yee and his family until they decided to shut the restaurant down last summer. Scores of people lined up for one last chop suey sandwich from the takeout window before it permanently closed its doors. Rodgers and Harriman say that with the new version, it is important to them to “try to honor the culture and the cuisine” of the restaurant, its fandom, and the work that the Yee family put into the place for decades. “We want to save it, want to keep it going,” Harriman tells the Salem News.