Thong Ung is going to take his sons’ advice.
His last day cooking a blend of western and international foods at his popular Yamada Teriyaki is Wednesday (Dec. 31).
“All the kids are grown up now and they don’t want me to work too hard,” he said.
Don’t think of Ung as retired, however, because he’s still considering his next endeavor, which could include continuing his catering business.
The Ung family story of growing up in Cambodia, their journey to America and the building of a life in Tukwila was told in a Tukwila Reporter story in February.
For sure, Ung is going to take some time to exercise. “There’s been no time to work out to keep me healthy,” he said.
He plans to continue his volunteer efforts for Tukwila. He was appointed in October to the Tukwila Equity and Diversity Commission.
He opened Yamada Teriyaki about eight years and many of his customers have become friends, including firefighters at the city fire headquarters not far away on Andover Park East in Southcenter.
He says he should have closed the restaurant about three years ago, but he wanted to keep working. Now, his cook wants to move to California, which would mean training someone new.
Ung himself is an accomplished cook, with decades of experience.
There are business reasons, too, including rising food costs, for why he’s closing his restaurant.
But until about 7 p.m. on Wednesday, there’s still a chance to order one of the 80 or so items on his menu.