Saying Goodbye To An Institution
Last night was bittersweet for many people. Myself included. See, after 35 years of service, Shang Chai one of the original (and maybe the first) kosher Chinese restaurant, closed it’s doors for good at 11 PM EST. Knowing this, I decided, on a whim, to make this as an event for friends to have one last hurrah and say goodbye. It was bittersweet because most of us have fond memories of the place. Whether it was for a date, Sheva Brachos (wedding celebration), birthday parties or just in general, this place had meaning for many. So last night, we took advantage of this and to me this is the restaurant that will always hold a place in my heart and here’s why:
1) FRIENDLY STAFF
They always had a smile on their faces and sometimes, they would take the time out to talk with you. In fact, I remember vividly the head waiter who always remembered things we spoke about the last time and he would always ask about it. He would always ask how we were and what we were up to. Sometimes he would give us a few things on the house. He knew my father well and from what I saw, they had established a rapport with each other. To my knowledge, I don’t recall a single restaurant that ever had a friendlier staff then them.
Service was also impeccable. Sure they were more expensive then others but the food was always good. Even if it wasn’t, people came because of the service. Why? Because Shang Chai was one of those rare “old school” places where they treated you like family. So much so in fact that many who came out last night had the opportunity to say goodbye to the owner and you could tell that she appreciated all the sentiments. Never once did she show her emotions but no matter how busy she was last night she took the time to speak to anyone who came to say goodbye.
I’m not sure will ever have a restaurant like this one again and I’m okay with that because while restaurants come and go, memories are forever and I know that one of my friends told me how bittersweet it was for her (especially her parents) while another told me one about him and his daughter. We all have stories to tell about this place. And now we have a new one to tell and I’m glad that I was able to have one last memory of the place with friends. So thank you guys (You know who you are) for coming out to say goodbye with me. As Bob Hope once said: Thanks For The Memories (Video Below)
On a side note: I did take a souvenir. I will always have the menu to cherish.
My own memories: I shot this before we left the restaurant : See Video Below
Do you have any memories of the place? If so, please feel free to share them.