Why Mission Chinese Food Became Such a Hot Spot, and Wo Hing Didn’t

Wo Hing "hasn't quite caught on."
Wo Hing "hasn't quite caught on." Photo: Grub Street

In a new piece for her 7x7 gig, Tablehopper Marcia Gagliardi writes on the topic of how some restaurants become white hot, always crowded, buzzworthy spots, while others, no matter their pedigree, do not. She points to S.F.’s greatest hits of the last four years like Flour + Water, Frances, and Mission Chinese Food, and tries to get at the alchemy of vibe, food, and secret sauce that explains their success. For one thing, the food and overall experience need to “supersede the hype,” as in the case of Frances. Raves from local and national critics certainly help, as does a quirky vibe and a low price point, both of which benefited Mission Chinese. But how come a project in a prime location with a big-name chef behind it, like Wo Hing General Store, “hasn’t quite caught on”? She stops short of giving the why, but we’ll just say it: You can get similar or better food for half or a quarter of the price in Chinatown, and most locals have figured that out. [7x7]