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Golden Mall food court in Queens reopens after undergoing major redesign

Golden Mall Food Court reopens in Queens after major redesign
Golden Mall Food Court reopens in Queens after major redesign 02:08

NEW YORK - A beloved food court known for Asian flavors has reopened in Queens after a major redesign.

Across the street from the Flushing Library and down a flight of stairs is what could be the most aromatic basement in New York City: the Golden Mall food court.

"We had a reputation where, if you want the most authentic food, you come here," manager Robert Cheng said.

His family has owned the mall since the year 2000, starting up with a single vendor and expanding with more and more Asian flavors, from Sichuanese skewers to Taiwanese sponge cake.

After a gut renovation that kept its doors shut for four years, the food court has reopened with a shiny new makeover, featuring spacious seating and neon-lighted accents. Gone is the no-frills environment of the early 2000s.

"You were not coming for the ambience per se," Cheng said.

He hopes the modern update will have broader appeal in a competitive market without diminishing the food court's history.

Queens food writer Joe DiStefano says the food court helped shape the palate of New York and pioneered the now-common food hall format. 

"It served as a window into regional Chinese food for both homesick Chinese as well as New York City food adventurers," he said.

Robert Cheng says the bare-bones basement was a relatively affordable setting for new vendors and served as a launchpad. Xi'an Famous Foods began as a stall and has since expanded to more than a dozen locations citywide.

"Seeing my tenants grow from nothing makes me proud," Cheng said.

He says a second larger location for the food court is slated to open in Lower Manhattan later this year.

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