Dozens of food lovers flocked to the Star Seafood “floating” restaurant on Sunday as the Sha Tin eatery opened its doors for one last time before a new owner prepared to take over the property.
Diners became nostalgic as they recalled all the good times they had in the past at the eatery, which had become something of a landmark in the neighborhood over the years.
Star Seafood is vacating the premises as a new operator, ClubONE, is moving into the property from Wednesday.
According to Apple Daily, Star Seafood decided to stop renting the place after the landlord suddenly sought a rental fee hike, by HK$300,000 to HK$ 1.9 million per month.
After the seafood restaurant said it was unwilling to meet the demand, ClubONE is said to have entered into negotiations with the landlord.
Curiously, a deal was eventually struck whereby the rent was fixed at 70 percent of the price that the former tenant was paying, but subject to some conditions, according to the report.
The new operator has promised to retain the restaurant’s design and other distinct characteristics even while undertaking a massive upgrade.
Meanwhile, as Star Seafood opened for the last day of business on Sunday, there was a huge rush from old patrons as they sought to bid farewell to their favorite restaurant.
Due to heavy crowd, the restaurant saw most of the dishes getting sold out by 3 pm, although the closing time was scheduled for 8 pm.
Many late visitors could only take pictures of the floating restaurant as there was no food available.
Among the visitors were four sisters who brought along their families to witness the closing of the popular restaurant.
The sisters, who bear the surname To, told a reporter that that had all emigrated to Canada but made a trip to Hong Kong to worship their ancestors.
When they heard news that Star Seafood outlet was closing, they couldn’t help but pay a visit to the place which invokes many fond memories, they said.
The Tos said they had been coming to the eatery since they were children, when it was still called the Treasure Floating Restaurant.
Although they had emigrated, the restaurant is still their choice whenever they come back to Hong Kong to meet with friends and families, the women said.
They added they all hope that the restaurant will reopen some day in all its former glory.
A person surnamed Chan who had been working at the restaurant for over 10 years said she is sad to see it close.
Chan said that over the years, she had developed strong bonds with the locals as well her colleagues, and that she is distraught at the thought that she might not see those people again.
According to Apple Daily, ClubONE was willing to pay HK$ 1.15 million per month for the location, but it plans to spend up to HK$100 million on the refurbishing the facility.
The new tenant aims to reopen the place on May 1, 2018, while trying its best to preserve the exterior of the restaurant.
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