Deal underway for sale of Yangtze in Chinatown; likely to continue as restaurant, local sources say

Yangtze restaurant
The Yangtze Restaurant on Somerset Street West in Chinatown was listed for sale in March.

The property that has been home to the Yangtze Restaurant for more than 40 years is in the process of being sold and is expected to continue as a restaurant under new ownership, the local BIA says.

The Yangtze Restaurant and Dining Lounge at 700 Somerset St. W. has served traditional Cantonese cuisine in Chinatown since the early 1980s. Both the distinctive corner property and the family-owned business were listed for sale last March with an asking price of $3.28 million

On Wednesday, Yukang Li, executive director of the Chinatown BIA, told OBJ that, to his knowledge, a sales agreement has been signed but the deal has not yet closed. 

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He has also been told the buyer will “continue to use the venue as a restaurant,” he said in an email to OBJ. It’s not clear whether it would be a continuation of the Yangtze brand or a new business.

The listing realtor could not immediately be reached for comment. As of Wednesday, the listing was no longer available on 

The listing included the business name and existing building, which features two floors at about 4,800 square feet each, a lower-level banquet hall that can accommodate 70 people, all food service equipment, and 11 parking spaces. 

The listing had specified that the property, which was built in 1977, could allow for the demolition of the existing building and construction of a six-storey apartment building, sparking worry in the community that Chinatown could lose the restaurant and cultural hub. The listing also stated that there was potential for the property to be developed into a nine-storey apartment building.

In March, Jun Yu, the sales representative for the property with Coldwell Banker Sarazen Realty, told OBJ that most of the early interest in the listing came from potential buyers who were interested in redeveloping the site.

When the property was first listed for sale, Li at the BIA expressed concern that Chinatown could lose both its last remaining large gathering place and its go-to for traditional dim sum. 

“It makes sense to continue the brand and the same sort of business. Yangtze is at a prominent location and the building is very stylish and we have a very loyal customer base, so the brand is already built. It’s all already there, so it takes less effort for the new owner to continue the business,” Li said in February. “If it were me, I wouldn’t want to start something from scratch.”

Yangtze was opened by a family from Hong Kong in the early 1980s. It was one of the biggest venues in Chinatown, along with the Fuliwah across the street that was later renamed the Oriental Chu Shing Restaurant and closed in 2022.

The Yangtze has also served as a tourist attraction for Chinatown at a time when the community is focused on attracting visitors and establishing the neighbourhood as a “landmark tourist destination” in Ottawa. 

The community has been struggling with vandalism, an increase in crime, racism and subsequent closures of local businesses since the pandemic. Last summer, the BIA faced theft and vandalism of cultural art pieces that had been installed along the street.

The change in the Yangtze’s ownership comes at a time that Li says the community is dedicated to preserving and celebrating Chinese culture. The Chinatown BIA has been working on street beautification, supporting small businesses and drawing in visitors and tourists, he told OBJ last summer, in efforts to bolster the local economy.

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