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Chef Behind San Antonio's Noodle Tree Will Close Restaurant to Focus on Lymphoma Treatment


The Noodle Tree, near UTSA, will be closing its doors next week. - INSTAGRAM / NOODLETREETX
  • Instagram / noodletreetx
  • The Noodle Tree, near UTSA, will be closing its doors next week.
Following a medical appointment Monday, Mike Nyugen, chef-owner of
Noodle Tree has decided to close his Northwest San Antonio restaurant completely.

During the COVID-19 pandemic, the Noodle Tree has been offering takeout and delivery services for local ramen and bao fans, but Nguyen's battle with lymphoma has now forced him to shut down the restaurant to refocus on treatment.

“This [weekend] will be our last service,” Nguyen told the Current. “I don’t know how long this will last. … It can be from four to 16 weeks, depending on how my body reacts to everything.”

Nguyen has been a resounding voice against Gov. Greg Abbott’s plan to re-open Texas amid evidence that COVID-19 cases are continuing to grow. The chef recently appeared on CNN to share his story.

“It’s heartbreaking, because I felt that we had so much momentum helping the community and that will have to stop,” Nguyen said. “I hope someone can take the reins and continue the trend.”

Even as policies evolve and more doors start to open, the food and beverage industry continues to struggle with convoluted guidelines and unrealistic expectations, he added. Suffice to say, restaurant and bar owners have been dealt a shitty hand.

“My biggest disappointment isn’t even that the restaurant is shutting down,” Nguyen said. “[It’s] that I can’t serve people food. You don’t become a chef to be famous or be rich. You do it to see the reaction of a guests’ first bite.”

Considering that federal coronavirus relief aid funds reached fewer than 7% of restaurants, and nearly 700,000 Texas restaurant workers are unemployed, owners with similar motivations grow more worried by the day.

Nguyen hopes to return from his medical issues to find a more cohesive and enforceable public policy for restaurants. Until then, “I have to focus on treatment. Hopefully when I can return, this will have settled down by a lot.”

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