SHEEPSHEAD BAY, Brooklyn — A one-of-a-kind restaurant in Sheepshead Bay is on the brink of closure because of the coronavirus pandemic.
Lagman House, a restaurant serving Dungan food, is the only restaurant of its kind in the country. Manager Ali Azimova said they opened in 2018.
"We don’t have a country, we just have a culture," Azimova said. "Living in the diverse New York, you have everything here. You have every single possible culture and food, but no — we are here to introduce our cultural Dungan food in Brooklyn."
Dungan people are the descendants of Chinese Muslims that fled China in the 1800s and settled in Kazakhstan, among other locations. There are roughly 150,000 Dungans worldwide.
The Azimova family are among a handful of Dungans in New York City.
Business boomed after they were featured in the New York Times. Their signature noodle dish brought customers from as far away as California. But that success was short lived; the COVID-19 pandemic forced them to close their dining room.
A GoFundMe page has been set up to keep the Lagman House — a cultural doorway to a vanishing people — above water.
"This business is everything to my family," Azimova said. "We put our dedication and lives into this restaurant and we hoping that we could get out of this."
Lagman House is open Tuesday through Sunday starting at 11 a.m. for takeout and delivery.