I spent nearly the entire month of January with the face-plague, and subsequently found myself in the line pictured above, outside Deep Ellum's Monkey King Noodle Company, waiting for my chicken noodle soup. For some reason it was always raining, or at least cloudy, which somehow made receiving that steaming bag of soup and dumplings all the more special. I love waiting on the brick sidewalk with a warm cup of simple tea in my hands, hoping the next name to be called is mine.
Sadly, I don't think I'll be able to repeat that experience many more times.
Don't worry -- I think Dallasites will be able to slurp from Monkey King's cup for a long time. But I do think some changes are in store in the near future.
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Back in December, we reported that Monkey King was under attack by the city. Regulators had started picking at their rooftop deck because it didn't have two exits. They also weren't pleased with the customers shuffling around on the sidewalk in front of the takeout because the takeout wasn't permitted for sit-down customers.
Owner Andrew Chen and I have had a few back and forths, and it's clear he and his team are working on it. There have been talks about expansion or a new location altogether. Lately, things have gone quiet.
One thing I know for sure: Chen wants to stay in Deep Ellum. But the rest is up in the air.
If you love Monkey King as it is, you should probably hit the place up over the next few weeks (and maybe months) so you can burn the same memory into your own mind. That way when you're standing in line at the new Monkey King years from now, and the wait is a little longer than you'd like, you can reminisce out loud about the old days, when the undisputed King of Noodles was in a standalone shack lined in silvered cedar on the outskirts of Deep Ellum. I'll remember just that for a long time.