I got Lêe from Hop Sing on the blower yesterday afternoon and he was pissed–furious about a million different things and, by his own admission, well into his second day without sleep.
He was in a rush, after all, because he has this pre-opening, media-slash-friends-and-family party happening (tonight, as a matter of fact) and he’d been scrambling to get everything ready for it. There’d been time (hours and hours and hours…) spent dealing with the PLCB, more time spent on interviews, more time spent polishing and dusting and getting every little thing in place. The man is, as I’ve said before, a perfectionist. And the drag of perfectionism is that nothing is ever quite perfect enough.
But now, he was getting down to the wire. And the strain was showing.
“That’s it,” he said, barking into his phone. “I’m not opening. You tell everyone, ‘Lee got the fucking bar all finished and then he decided not to open’.”
But that, of course, isn’t true. He’s going to open. He’s going to open for the first time tonight and the Foobooz Mobile Party Unit will be on-hand to see how things shake out at the media night so we can tell you all about it tomorrow morning. What’s more, he’s going to have to actually open at some point, and now, for the first time, we have something like an opening date coming straight from Lêe.
“Middle of March,” he told me.
“So, what? Like the second week in March? The third?” I asked.
“March,” he said.
“Sometime in March. Probably the middle of March.”
So there you go. The closest thing to a guaranteed date we’ve heard yet. We’re narrowing it down. Zeroing in.
But this isn’t just stalling. Lêe has a reason for giving himself an extra couple weeks. “We’re gonna have everyone in [for the friends-and-family],” he told me, “and then we’re going to shut down. We’re going to go over everything again, make sure it’s perfect. You know me, I can’t do anything one time. I have to do it three times.”
There are some other elements still up in the air as well. The menu (remember the menu? Nothing but the best take-out dishes from the best restaurants in Chinatown?) has yet to be finalized. There is still more rare and high-end liquor coming in (though Eater Philly spilled the details on what’s going to be in Hop Sing’s well, Lêe said of that fairly amazing list, “That’s just the start, brother. That’s just the beginning.”), which means more battling with the PLCB.
But then there’s also this: a list of “Rules & Policy” for Hop Sing Laundromat that Lêe sent over–something that he’s given a lot of thought to.
1. Membership cards are non-transferable, so please don’t lend it to anyone (especially mother in-law)
2. Members are allowed one guest per visit and you are responsible for your guest, so please don’t bring “a friend of a friend” or “a guy that knows the other guy” unless you are certain this person won’t caused you any embarrassment. Please choose wisely.
3. For yours and our other guest’s privacy, we will not be able to accommodate a party of more than 4 guests.
4. No children under 23 or people acting like children will be permitted unless accompanied by an adult.
5. There is no hat of any kind allowed once inside the main dining room.
6. Please respect the privacy of other members. And gentlemen, please do not approach the ladies without an invitation as this is neither a Rittenhouse or an Olde City butcher shop.
7. We have the right to refuse service to anyone at anytime, especially those patrons who may have had one too many.
8. Illegal drug use of any kind will be not be tolerated and we shall contact the authorities if you or your companion is practicing such habit here. We can’t offer an intervention but are happy to recommend a known & respected rehab facility near by.
9. Please leave quietly as our neighbors are sleeping or trying to do so, and please do not linger outside our front door.
10. If you wished to call your spouse or pet then we’ll provide a place for you to make that call in private, as yapping on the phone is not allowed in the main dining room.
11. No cameras or recording devices of any kind are allowed anywhere in our establishment…ever!
12. You will be asked to leave if you don’t follow the above rules.
And last but not least, if any of you need transportation to get home then please let us know and we shall contact a taxi company on your behalf as we do wish you all to have a safe journey home.
Hop Sing Laundromat.
First off, yeah. He said “membership.” The way Lee explained it to me, the public will be allowed in, but priority seating (among other things) will be provided for members. When the place is full, it’s members only. When there are seats available, its first come-first served. And yes, there will also be a membership fee, but Lee would only tell me that it would be “reasonable.”
Second, I will assume that when he wrote “butcher shop” above, he meant “meat market.” Because otherwise, Lee has been hanging out in some really strange butcher’s shops…
Otherwise, the rules are the rules and the policies are the policies: no kids (including 21 and 22-year-old kids), no large groups, no cameras, no hats, no drugs.
We’ll be back with more details tomorrow, so stay tuned…