Lisa Chan, Josephine Yao, Mike Yao and Michael Cui, pictured at Panda Garden in downtown Bangor on Jan. 10. The Yaos sold the restaurant to Cui of Asian Palace II, who will rename it Asian Garden. Credit: Emily Burnham

Asian Garden, the downtown Bangor Chinese restaurant formerly known as Panda Garden, will close its doors for good on June 30 after more than 30 years in business.

The Franklin Street restaurant announced recently that Thursday will be its last day. The eatery is selling off its contents.

Former owners Mike and Josephine Yao sold the business in January 2019 to Lisa Chan and Michael Cui, who also own Asian Palace II on Griffin Road in Bangor. The new owners changed the name from Panda Garden to Asian Garden. Asian Palace II remains open.

Mike and Josephine Yao opened Panda Garden not long after they moved to Bangor in 1988, 15 years after they immigrated from Taiwan and Hong Kong, respectively. They retired in 2019, though both still worked occasionally at Asian Garden.

Throughout the 1990s and 2000s, Panda Garden was a downtown Bangor staple, known well for its popular lunch buffet.

The Yaos counted people including Stephen King and U.S. Sen. Susan Collins as devoted customers. And for most of its 30 years, it was the go-to place where many members of Bangor’s Jewish community enjoyed an annual tradition: the Christmas night Chinese food feast.

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Emily Burnham

Emily Burnham is a Maine native and proud Bangorian, covering business, the arts, restaurants and the culture and history of the Bangor region.