Margaret Kuo’s in Wayne Will Close on March 19

When Margaret Kuo's closes its doors later this month, it will be a sad goodbye for a Main Line culinary institution.

Margaret Kuo’s put upscale Asian cuisine on the Main Line map 22 years ago. This month, it’s closing its doors. “It’s hard to put it into words,” says Warren Kuo, who owns and operates the venerable Wayne restaurant with his wife, its namesake. “Margaret and I have put our hearts into this. When we acquired the property, we wanted to build something unique that would last.”

Both natives of Taiwan, the two met in Connecticut in the 1960s, married in 1972 and moved to the area when Warren took a job as a research chemist at the Woman’s Medical College of Pennsylvania. At the time, he also managed a friend’s restaurant in King of Prussia. Margaret began planning her own course as a restaurateur after a visit from her parents and their underwhelming meal at a local Chinese restaurant. She opened her Peking restaurant in the Granite Run Mall in the mid-1970s.

Credit Ed Williams
Margaret and Warren Kuo at their Wayne location.

Decades later, when Margaret Kuo’s debuted in 2002, there were still precious few (if any) Asian fine-dining options in the area. For much of its time in Wayne, it became the go-to spot for anyone craving impeccably crafted high-end Chinese and Japanese cuisine. Margaret’s creative, well-executed menu earned its fair share of passionate devotees. “I had recipes that were handed down from generation to generation,” she says. “I learned from my mother and grandmother. We had very traditional items, and I’m proud to say that we were always introducing authentic, refined Chinese cuisine. We never did fusion. It was my pleasure to introduce dishes. I love to share, and I love to teach.”

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Not long ago, there were three other restaurants in the Kuo orbit: Margaret Kuo’s Mandarin in Malvern and two Margaret Kuo’s Kitchen locations in Media and Granite Run. After the pandemic, the couple closed the Malvern spot and sold the Media property. With 11 years left on its lease, the Granite Run restaurant will continue under the guidance of the couple’s oldest son, Mark. Warren will maintain a management role, as well. “No retirement for me,” says the 82-year-old, laughing.

The Kuos haven’t planned a big sendoff for the Wayne restaurant. But there will no doubt be a stream of well-wishers once word gets out about the closure. “We have so many people to thank,” Margaret says. “There are just too many to mention—and that’s more important than anything else.”

While Warren helps Mark tend to the Granite Run location, Margaret hopes to remain busy. She’ll continue to connect with the community at various events, and she also wants to write a book about her experiences and the many connections she’s made. “It’s not easy to sit down and write,” she says. “For the past 40 years, I’ve lived my life with our customers. I’ve shared their joy and sadness. It’s like a big family for me.”

Related: Takumi Takes an Artisanal Approach to Dining in Devon Village

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