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Golden Wok reopens after owner suffers tragic house fire

Millerton shows its support

MILLERTON — In the months following the tragic Nov. 6, 2021 house fire that claimed not only her home at 5902 South Elm Ave. (Route 22), but also her daughter Jenny’s life, the Millerton community has rallied around Amy Yang. Yang is the owner of the Chinese restaurant Golden Wok in Millerton. She and her family are trying to heal in the wake of tragedy.

They have been aided through community efforts, including a number of Go Fund Me pages, Meal Train pages and other charitable efforts, which members of the community seemed to simultaneously create for the Yang family and several other families that were displaced from their homes due to the fire, to help them rebuild their lives.

“I know small-town people look out for each other. I don’t know how to thank everybody — I just pray that everybody’s happy," said an exhausted and grateful Yang. "Life goes on, day by day, every day. I’m thankful for this town, for everybody. I appreciate everybody.”

Having closed her restaurant after the fire, Yang and her staff at Golden Wok received an incredibly positive response from not only Millerton but the entire Tri-state community when they finally reopened the popular, long-standing restaurant last week.

"I’m working — work, work, work, so you don’t have time to think. It’s very nice to see everybody," said Yang after one week back on the job. "Everyone is so great to help, to help me out. I have to write a letter in capital letters to thank all the people helping me out."

If losing her home and all of her belongings wasn’t devastating enough, Yang has been grieving the loss of her daughter and her tenant. It's been a difficult time. In addition to 24-year-old Jenny Yang, the fire claimed the life of 30-year-old Wangdi Tamang, who also lived in the home with the Yang family.

The Dutchess County Fire Investigation Division reported the fire on South Elm Avenue is still under investigation at this time, and division officials are uncertain as to how long the investigation will take.

Yet throughout these last three months, Yang, her family, her employees and her neighbors have had the community’s consistent support, with residents contributing what they could to offer comfort.

“I’m so happy she’s opening up after the tragic situation,” said Rob Cooper of Associated Lightning Rod Company in Millerton. “Everybody has her back, and they will for a long time.”

Cooper was among those who created a GoFundMe page in the wake of the tragedy to help the victims of the fire rebuild their lives.

While the Golden Wok was temporarily closed for business, Railroad Plaza, where the restaurant is located, was a lot less vibrant. Her loyal customers who typically occupied the intimate dining room or waited for their takeout orders in the crowded kitchen on the other side of the business were patient while Yang grieved and felt she was ready to reopen her restaurant.

And while Railroad Plaza’s other businesses — including Harney & Sons Tea Shop and Country Gardeners Florist — continued to flourish, the plaza wasn’t the same without the alluring aromas of ginger and soy sauce wafting in the air over Main Street.

“I’m just happy to see that they’re open and healing,” said Joanne Scasso, owner of Country Gardeners Florist, Golden Wok’s neighbor at the plaza.

When she checked in with Yang, Millerton Mayor Jennifer Najdek was told the restaurant was doing some deep cleaning and moving things around to refresh the space.

Now that Golden Wok is back in action, Najdek said, “I think everyone in the community is happy that they’re back at it again and that they’re trying to find some normalcy in the wake of a horrific disaster.”

After news about the restaurant’s reopening broke on social media, the online response was especially enthusiastic. People shared their happiness that Yang appears to be getting back on her feet and encouraged others to support her and her restaurant.

“When businesses are either closed or open, it impacts the whole fabric of the community, not just the business community,” said Millerton Business Alliance  head Thorunn Kristjansdottir. “So we’re thrilled that Amy and her staff were able to open back up and I hope the community comes out to support them.”

“The best of everything for the Golden Wok,” Jo-Ann Wilcox said in a post on the “Millerton Amenia Community Forum” Facebook page.

“Good to hear. Bless them all,” Lillian Varela-Cerrone said on her post on that page.

Located at 2 Main St., Millerton, Golden Wok is open from 10:30 a.m. to 10:30 p.m., Mondays through Thursdays; from 10:30 a.m. to 11 p.m., Fridays and Saturdays; and from 11:30 a.m. to 10:30 p.m., Sundays. Call 518-789-9236 or go to www.goldenwokmillertonny.com.

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