Another one bites the dust.
Soaring rents are being blamed for news of the demise of a second Hong Kong steakhouse in a week.
Louis’ Steak House in Wan Chai has been around for 41 years.
It survived SARS (the severe acute respiratory syndrome outbreak) in 2003, when there were only four customers a night.
But a jump in rent is forcing the restaurant to close down next year, Ming Pao Daily reported Wednesday.
The announcement came after Goldfinch Restaurant in Causeway Bay shut down Sunday after 53 years because its rent had become unaffordable.
Three brothers, Yeung Tai-wah, Yeung Tai-ching and Yeung Tai-lung, founded Louis’ in 1974.
They recently received notice from their landlord that the rent will jump 20 percent at the next renewal of the lease, the duration of which will be cut to two years from three.
The Yeung brothers didn’t disclose the rent they are paying at present.
They said they do not want to pass the rise in their costs to their customers, so they decided to shut down the restaurant when the lease expires next year.
As the brothers are of retirement age, they do not plan to reopen the restaurant somewhere else.
They said they were heartbroken when announcing the decision to their staff and that they were reluctant to let their waiters and waitresses go; but what needs to be done has been done.
The steakhouse is well known for its signature dishes, such as fish tripe and prime grade steak.
Business was good before Hong Kong was handed over back to China in 1997.
Many British soldiers, expats and businessmen were frequent visitors to the steakhouse, including Macau gambling tycoon Stanley Ho Hung-sun and the new secretary for home affairs, Lau Kong-wah.
The restaurant kept two wine glasses for the exclusive use of well-known Hong Kong actor and director Stephen Chow Sing-chi.
But the number of foreign gourmands dropped significantly after the handover, the Yeungs said.
US consul-general Clifford Hart and Cardinal John Tong Hon were among those who attended the steakhouse’s 40th anniversary party last year.
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