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Jade Billows Closes Doors For Good

"I have one life to live. I want my life to be colorful, not only restaurants," owner Richie Lee said.

By the close of business hours Wednesday, a Cabin John institution will be closing its doors for good.

After more than 20 years in business, the owners of the popular say they're ready to close up shop. The restaurant will remain open Wednesday through regular business hours of 11 a.m. to 9 p.m.

"Twenty years here, it feels like a mission accomplished," said owner Richie Lee. Despite community rumors of high costs pushing the restaurant out of business, Lee said it's really just a matter of not wanting to run the business anymore.

"I have one life to live," Lee said. "I want my life to be colorful, not only restaurants."

Jade Billows is a popular restaurant for locals, continually receiving high praise among diners. Yelp and Urbanspoon reviews give the restaurant four and five star ratings, describing the food as fresh and flavorful, if a little pricey.

"My family has been eating here as long as I can remember. Hands down, my favorite Chinese restaurant," said one Yelp reviewer. "I have never branched out on the menu and been disappointed." 

Lee says he and his wife, co-owner Lily Wong, plan to take a long vacation after turning off the restaurant lights for the last time.

Joe Thomas July 25, 2012 at 02:34 AM
Couldn't have been too popular. I've lived within ten miles of it for twenty years and never heard of it.
Greg Cohen July 25, 2012 at 01:18 PM
It's been a Potomac institution for 20 years, serving as a Christmas Dinner tradition to countless Jewish families. I have friends who are a combination of saddened and disappointed. Seriously, ask the Churchill and Wootton communities.
Katie Kohn July 25, 2012 at 01:43 PM
This is a sad day indeed! I have been a loyal patron for all these years. They were always willing to accommodate any dietary needs and even made special batches of boiled rice and chicken breasts for my dogs when they had bad tummies. I will miss Jade Billows and hope another fabulous Chinese restaurant will continue in the same space.
David Epstein July 25, 2012 at 03:50 PM
I don't know the details, but it seems that high rents have been a consistent story as businesses in Potomac Village and Cabin John have closed down. The quality of life continues to drop. Maybe some landlords ought to take a long-term view of the situation and reduce rents. Otherwise, the only businesses at these two commercial hubs will be banks and realtors.
Stu July 26, 2012 at 06:55 PM
It has always been crowded and had very good take-out.
dcr20854 July 26, 2012 at 08:55 PM
I'd guess that the owner is being diplomatic when he doesn't complain about rent increases. Of course none of us ever does anything for a single reason, so he could well have been hit with a rent increase and then decided that after 20 years he had enough. When their predecessor in that spot, Schezuan Garden, left, the owner told me that with a rent increase he would just be working for the landlord, so he left. There are a number of empty stores in this shopping center, and the rate of turnover doesn't speak well for its management.
Mark Higgins July 30, 2012 at 04:56 PM
I hear that there's another Chinese restaurant which will be opening there in their place. I hope they have some good spicy food. Jade Billows always had good food, but could have used a bit more spices. Jade Billows will be missed.
Shannon marienthal van winter August 03, 2012 at 12:41 AM
Jade billows was related to far east. The four siblings father started far east. We used to Far East on Nicholson lane when it was more like a "hole in the wall" instead of in their "new" building. Two siblings branched out and started jade billows. One stayed at far east. The fourth moved to calif ages ago. Try far east. Very similar!!!
Fake Pepco August 06, 2012 at 05:23 PM
The manager of Blockbuster also said it was a rent increase that forced them out. Of course, Blockbuster has their own problems, and they're essentially gone from MoCo.
John Bailey August 13, 2012 at 10:42 PM
I will miss the great food and friendly service of Jade Billows. I don't get out there much in the summer, but I happened to stop by for my usual lunch today and I was just dumbfounded and saddened that they were gone. Such good hot sour soup! Kudos to the chef! I had no idea they'd been there for 20 years. I thank them for their good work and wish them the best, they will be missed.
Jimmy Lien August 14, 2012 at 03:16 PM
It is sad that Jade Billows closed, but sinced i recently moved to the columbia area i have found that the fourth sibling; the youngest son opened up Red Pearl restaurant across the columbia mall. Food was great with a more extensive menu, including authentic dim sum, cantonese, and szechuan food. If anyone is in the columbia area,stop by to try Red Pearl where you are still able to enjoy the food of Far East and Jade Billows.
John September 01, 2012 at 11:03 PM
We will miss Jade Billows. It was our favorite restaurant in this area. The food was always excellent and the service kind and good. I am sad to see Jade Billows close. I will miss them.
Maria September 09, 2012 at 07:36 PM
I came back from vacation and saw the restaurant closed. I'm really truly saddened, my family teases me constantly because I'm always talking about how I can't believe they did this to me. I wish Richie and family all the best. He is the sweetest man and always remembered how much I loved extra chili oil with my order. He also always made sure to ask about every member of my family. I will really miss Jade Billows and Richie. Hopefully we can convince them to come back soon!!
Michael September 13, 2012 at 02:58 PM
Sorry to say but my friends and I had noticed that Ritchie was getting more and more snarky and irritated with customers. I went there for ten years twice a week. The food was always awesome but the truth is, Ritchie started turning people off. I think it's true, it was time for him to move on. Shame, it was great food.
dcr20854 December 30, 2012 at 03:26 PM
Sadly, I can now report that Jade Billows's replacement, China Jade Bistro, isn't very good. My first visit I had hot and sour soup, always excellent at Jade Billows, and the broth was weak and watery. They have only one kind of meat in the dumplings, suggesting that they're not made at the restaurant. Next visit I had ma po tofu, and it was unlike any I've ever seen. Best advice--just stay away from this place. I'm sorry, they just don't measure up. It's sad that we went from such a good Chinese restaurant to such a poor one.

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