Wok of the town: What's up with Chef's Noodle House?

Billy Lam was born into restaurants: For forty years, his father owned a place in Can Tho called Hoi Ky. When Billy Lam left Vietnam and landed in this country in 1978, he didn't know English -- but he did know kitchens. "The only thing to do was work in restaurants," Lam told Jason Sheehan five years ago, when he visited Chef's Noodle House at 10400 East Sixth Avenue.

Whose phone is now disconnected.

Is this the end of the line for Lam?

His culinary lineage here stretches back to 1980, when his family owned T-Wa Inn, a restaurant they later lost, then regained. Billy Lam went on to own one of the first Panda Express restaurants, on Federal Boulevard, then the Panda Cafe, then the ambitious China Cowboy across from the Capitol that was a disaster and almost ruined him.

In 1995 he moved into an old fast-food joint near Lowry, where he'd been ever since, keeping the wok hot and the noodles coming out of the kitchen.

But after fifteen years, sounds like the wok might finally have cooled off.


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