Beijing’s Oldest Western-style Fast Food Joint Reopens After 20 Years

Founded in 1984, Yili Western Restaurant is responsible for introducing burgers and sandwiches to Beijingers. The eatery’s grand opening was well-attended by government officials and many reporters from Western media.

At its peak, the restaurant earned 2 million RMB (about 280,000 USD) in annual revenue. However, fierce competition from newly arrived Western fast food chains — KFC and McDonald’s — and a city redesign caused it to shut its doors in the early 2000s.

Those with nostalgic memories of Yili Western Restaurant were excited to learn that the historical restaurant was being resurrected. The eatery, which reopened right before October’s National Day holiday, has even kept its original interior design from the 1980s.

The menu has barely changed too. Some mainstays include fried sausages in tomato sauce over rice, Russian borscht soup, a German sausage platter, and Italian-style seafood pasta.

Localization is common at Western restaurants in China, and Yili Western Restaurant is no different.  The fast food joint offers several Chinese dishes, such as Beijing braised noodles and pork buns.

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