Fong’s Pizza in Cedar Rapids will serve its last customers next week.
“It is with heavy hearts we are saying our goodbyes and closing permanently at the end of the day on 11/5/22,” the restaurant said in a post on its Facebook page on Thursday morning.
“We love serving this great community. Unfortunately, our lease is at its end, and with the uncertain future of the economy, it did not make sense for us to renew at this time.”
Fong’s was already a fixture of the Des Moines food scene when it opened its location in Cedar Rapids’ New Bohemia District in 2018. The original location for Fong’s, which opened in Des Moines in 2009, had once been home to King-Ying-Low, the city’s oldest Chinese restaurant. That helped inspire the Asian influence in Fong’s menu and décor.
The restaurant became known for specialty pizzas with toppings inspired by familiar dishes from American Chinese eateries, such as Mongolian beef and General Tso’s chicken. But it was Fong’s Crab Rangoon Pizza that earned it a national spotlight, when the signature pizza was praised by celebrities like Food Network star and author Alton Brown.
— Alton Brown (@altonbrown) October 25, 2017
By the time it opened its Cedar Rapids location, Fong’s had already added a restaurant in Ankeny. In 2019, it opened a second Des Moines location on Forest Ave near Drake University. That location had its own moment of viral fame in the spring of 2021, when it introduced a Fruit Loops pizza, but closed later that year.
— New York Post (@nypost) March 3, 2021
The Des Moines Register reported in November 2021, “A note posted on the door of the 3018 Forest Ave. location read, ‘We regret to say that after 2 1/2 years of trying to make things work here, we have decided to close our doors for good, effective Saturday 11/13/2021. Thank you very much for your patronage and support over the years. We have been honored to be a part of your neighborhood.’”
Ten months before that, Gwen Page said in a legal filing the Forest Avenue location had lost significant amounts of money and was insolvent, but had been able to remain open thanks to a federal loan through the Paycheck Protection Program. The claim came as part of a lawsuit, Page, a co-founder and part-owner of the downtown Des Moines Fong’s Pizza, filed against other members of Fong’s management group. Page’s opposition to requesting a second PPP loan for the location was a point of division between her and members of the management group, the lawsuit alleges.
As part of a written statement related to the lawsuit that Page issued in March 2021, she also claimed the Cedar Rapids location was “insolvent,” the Register reported. A member of the management group being sued responded to the overall statement, which was focused on other issues, by calling it “fiction” and saying it “contains false, defamatory, and slanderous assertions that are legally actionable.”
Fong’s locations in downtown Des Moines and Ankeny both remain open, and will continue to serve their customers after the lights are turned off for the final time in Cedar Rapids on the first Saturday of November.
“Cedar Rapids we want to thank you for your support over the years,” Fong’s said at the beginning of its brief Facebook post on Thursday morning.
The post concluded, “We look forward to spending our last days with you.”