On his way to work at Stanton's City Bites the morning of February 19, where he'd manned the front counter for over 30 years, Arthur Fong suffered a massive hemorrhagic stroke. Fong -- known as "Art" to his friends and family -- lingered in the intensive care unit until March 5, when he passed away. Fong leaves behind a wife, Theresa, and two children, Jonathan and Samantha.
He also leaves behind a legacy of smiles and speedy service, where guests waiting for the burger inside the odd little convenience store at the corner of Houston and Edwards would often hear Fong's signature phrase ringing out: "It's not a problem!" No matter your order, Fong was always kind and always accommodating.
Over the years, Fong and the big, beefy, juicy, half-pound burgers that Stanton's turned out made the old white house a destination. Its burgers have been recognized everywhere from national food blogs such as Serious Eats to Travel Channel's upcoming show Burger Land, and won Houston Press Best of Houston® awards for Best Burger in 2005, 2006 and 2009.
Sadly, this legacy is not all that Fong leaves behind with his death.
Due to the extended stay in the ICU, Fong's family has been left with a tremendous amount of medical bills. To defray some of those bills as well as the funeral expenses, the family has set up a YouCaring page where fans and friends of Stanton's can donate to the Art Fong fund.
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In the few short hours that the YouCaring page has been active, the family has raised $2,215 of its $185,000 goal, with 301 days left to go. Fans have also been leaving tributes in pictures and words on Fong's Facebook page, which has been transformed into a memorial site.
"I only met Art once, spent four hours with him the day we filmed for Burger Land, and I felt like I had known him forever," wrote George Motz, host of Burger Land and author of Hamburger America. "Art will be missed."