NEW YORK — Frank Moy is definitely what you'd call a hands on kind of guy. Whether it's helping get delivery orders ready, making sure his cooks have what they need to resume indoor dining, or making sure his customers, some whom have been coming in for years, receive the service and the personal touch they've come to expect.

The 70-year-old has owned Cafe Evergreen on First Avenue near 74th Street in Manhattan for nearly 27 years, but has lived in the city since the 1970s.

What You Need To Know

  • Frank Moy's Cafe Evergreen first opened in 1994. He says the restaurant is a testament to the hard work and effort he's put into it

  • New York City restarted indoor dining with a 25% cap in time for the Lunar New Year, but this year the celebrations are muted

  • Chinese restaurants in the city have experienced a massive drop in sales due in part to xenophobia and misinformation spreadi about the virus
  • The NYPD created an Asian Hate Crimes Task Force last year in response to a major spike in verbal and physical assaults toward Asian Americans during the pandemic. Several Chinese restaurants in the city have reported vandalism and harassment

The sprite, soft-spoken Midtown resident isn't afraid of hard work. He is always on the go at work, making sure everything runs smoothly; However, for Moy and his wife Monique, the best part of his job is making the time to connect with patrons who've become like family.

It’s no surprise regulars like Vivek Dadlani couldn't wait to return for a taste of familiarity.

"It's the best dim sum in town. I've been coming here for 25 years,” Dadlani said.

He's not alone. Moy says he can't keep track of how many of his clientele have been regulars for decades.  

Still, long-time customers are delighted to be able to come in again, instead of just ordering take-out.

While Moy is in his element welcoming new friends back into the restaurant, he admits reopening remains difficult, due in part to the 25% limits on indoor occupancy.

"All things considered, with the minimum wage and the 25% cap, it just financially, it's just not a good decision to open, but we do it because we are here to serve the community,” Moy said. “We have a lot of customers who like to meet us and we like to meet them. So in order for us to do that we just have to open our door."

He says he's losing money currently, but maintaining friends and a sense of community in a city that's become home for his family is worth it.

"I think New York is a place for tough people to stay. New Yorkers are beat down, but don't stay down. I'm in it for the long run,” Moy said.

That mindset, and the "amazing" food, and "thoughtful service,” is what keeps old friends and new customers alike coming through his doors.