We had the good fortune of connecting with Keegan Fong and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Keegan, what was your thought process behind starting your own business?
Growing up, I always knew I wanted to start my own business eventually. There was always a passion to want something of my own that I could make all the decisions for. I think for me, I find joy in solving problems and also creating new ideas. So, when I finally felt like I had gained enough experience working for other people and helped start other businesses, I felt ready to make the leap and learn on my own.
Alright, so for those in our community who might not be familiar with your business, can you tell us more?
Woon is a Homestyle Chinese restaurant located in Historic Filipinotown, Los Angeles. It was initially born as a pop up concept from a desire to share my mom’s recipes. We opened the brick-and-mortar in March of 2019. There was nothing easy about starting my own business, especially a restaurant. I came from a marketing background, and had never worked in a restaurant before. However, I knew that I wanted to challenge myself to the fullest, and a restaurant seemed to be the biggest challenge. I’ve always wanted my own brand, so I’ve approached the restaurant less about a physical space, but more about a story and an experience. There’s so much more that goes into restaurants and I’m trying to get people to realize that. Once you can create an experience outside of these 4 physical walls, it becomes much more than a place that only serves food. However, getting to where we are today was met with many challenges. Everything from the pandemic to random instances of physical violence or breaking and entering. Restaurants are never closed…they don’t get weekends. There are problems that occur every second of everyday, so it’s a constant game of problem solving which gets very overwhelming, but it’s something that will prepare you for anything in life.
Let’s say your best friend was visiting the area and you wanted to show them the best time ever. Where would you take them? Give us a little itinerary – say it was a week long trip, where would you eat, drink, visit, hang out, etc.
If a friend was visiting town for a week I’d probably first take them on a little one night trip to Ojai which is only 1 hr. 20 min. away. It’s my favorite getaway to stay at the Ojai Rancho Inn and go on a hike during the day and grab some food/drinks at the Deer Lodge at night. The next day would probably just be hanging at the pool and then head back to LA. Once back in LA I’d for sure do a park day at Elysian or Griffith Park and try to hit up TAIX in the evening for martinis / old fashioned french food. After that it’s never too late to go to my buddy, Nick’s wine bar, El Prado in Echo Park. Another day we’d have to hit the Atwater Village Farmer’s Market and stop by Dune for a bite and Wine & Eggs to do a little browsing. Lastly, we’d end the trip in the San Gabriel Valley….getting dim sum at NBC Seafood in Monterey Park and swinging by My Tho Banh Mi for a banh mi and some egg rolls!
The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
The biggest shoutout goes out to my mom, or “Mama Fong”, as most people know her as. Woon is essentially a story based around her as the main character. She shaped me into the person I am, and I’ve dedicated this restaurant to her. The recipes are hers, and it’s just my job to share them.
Jacob Cummings Cody James Adam Amengual Tiffany Chung