Behind these non-descriptive doors you will find
a beautiful space, an unique idea and an engaging visionary named Lêe who created "Hop Sing Laundromat,". He says it will serve the best Chinese food in Philadelphia, but don't call it a restaurant, it's a bar that serves food. Why is he so confident it will serve the best Chinese food? He's come up with a novel idea where his menu will consist of the top 5 best meals from the top 5 best Chinese restaurants in Chinatown (25 items). (Thursday night at 1AM he took me and a few of my friends to one of the restaurants. It was the best I've ever had and I didn't even know it existed.) After the guest orders the dishes, the Hop Sing waiters will pick up the food and deliver it to the tables in Chinese wedding banquet boxes.
The entry to the restaurant, don't call it a lobby, it's the waiting room or shoe shining room, will house yes a shoe shine stand and a dozen chairs from an old movie theater to sit in (He doesn't want anyone cooling their heels outside on the sidewalk.) There's a dress code at Hop Sing, and sandals are not allowed. If you bothered to get dressed for a night at Hop Sing, more along the lines of the dress code you would wear to the Union League in the summer (no suit, but a collared shirt), then he is happy to shine your shoes for free as a thank you. The floor of this room has nearly $400 worth of pennies all on tails. He says there is one on heads, but it will never be found. He's right I don't have the patience to look for it, which Lêe seems to possess.
Especially with his attention to details like this chandelier that he's hung in the shoe shine room, as you walk through the doors. The books he's chosen to display in the main room, the light fixtures from an old church with the crosses still attached.
Elements stressed by Lêe was his customer service, everyone should enjoy themselves in his bar without the stress of a photo showing up somewhere. Posted right in the lobby will be a NO Cameras, Video or Phones allowed in the main dining room. He even has a room for you to tend to your important phone calls so that you don't have to go out side and cool your heals. (I'm not going to sweat it as there is no sign that one can't observe and then report, just no twittering at that moment or a nice, but large man may come over and crush my phone. OK not really but )
Although the kitchen is in place, the only equipment that will be operational is the fancy Kold Draft ice machine, capable of making up to 12 different kinds of ice including crushed. Lêe is a fan of days gone by, where women were ladies and men held the door for them. He is a fan of the golden years of Hollywood and I think is trying to capture that era with the cool sleek feel of Hop Sing Laundromat. The attention to detail, the message he is trying to convey. When you go into Hop Sing Laundromat and see something that stirs you, know that Lêe probably placed it there after a long thought out process; nothing is where it is coincidentally.
Along the far wall couches will line up with end tables between them. The outlets are already in place for the lamps and your laptop. Between the wall and the 40 foot bar, on the opposite side of the room, there will be a few well placed dining tables for dinner as well as lounging.
The only thing Lêe wants you to call mysterious is probably who is my mysterious friend that checked out the place last Thursday at 1Am with us and what are those prints of framed so nicely by Gould Frame in Philly. He doesn't like mysterious as an adjective, his bar is more like surprise. A gift that will be unwrapped in due time (with lots of off the records for me as he describe the surprises that await his guests each and every day even.) He keeps telling me it's just a bar, but I'm telling you it's something special. Nothing of the likes has been conceptualized like the Hop Sing Laundromat in Philadelphia, opening soon. (Great articles regarding design and tidbits await you here Meal Ticket, Michael Klein, and one of the best articles I've read on the place and in general of late, really captures my afternoon with Lêe can be found at Foobooz; Hop Sing Laundromat represents the American dream.