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Hop Kweng, in Sandgate Road, Folkestone, to close due to Covid-19 struggles

A long-running and popular Folkestone restaurant has closed its doors for good due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Hop Kweng, in Majestic Parade, off Sandgate Road, first opened in 1971 and was the last to survive of four across the country, the others being in London and Canterbury.

Hop Kweng in Folkestone is closing permanently after 49 years in the town. Picture: Wai Chiang
Hop Kweng in Folkestone is closing permanently after 49 years in the town. Picture: Wai Chiang

Owner Yuk Tong Chiang started as a chef in the 70s but took over the Chinese restaurant in 1983.

Since then his family has run the business, which has a 4.5 rating on Tripadvisor.

It closed temporarily in March following the Covid-19 outbreak and when lockdown restrictions were put in place.

But over the weekend a notice was put on the window of the restaurant, the name of which translates to mean 'meeting place', saying it will not reopen.

Mr Chaing's son, Wai, said the easing of lockdown restrictions, meaning pubs and restaurants can now open, felt "too soon" for the family.

The restaurant has been run by the Chiang family since the 80s. Picture: Wai Chiang
The restaurant has been run by the Chiang family since the 80s. Picture: Wai Chiang

He also said it would not be financially sustainable to open at a reduced capacity and that he would worry for staff and customer health.

Wai said: "I regret to announce that due to Covid-19, we will not be opening our doors again.

"The journey through this pandemic has been both mentally and financially challenging to our family.

"With my parents being of an age that is more susceptible to the virus, we have decided that it is just not worth taking the risk.

"They have both worked extremely hard and lack the enthusiasm to start all over again.

(L-R) Gar Lai and Gar Wai, owner Yuk Tong Chiang's daughters, sitting on the steps of the restaurants in the 70s. Picture: Wai Chiang
(L-R) Gar Lai and Gar Wai, owner Yuk Tong Chiang's daughters, sitting on the steps of the restaurants in the 70s. Picture: Wai Chiang

"The physical exertion of making the restaurant safe to serve, together with the threat of the virus and financial feasibility to opening again, just outweigh the joy of running a restaurant.

"We wish to thank all our customers over the past 49 years and wish we could have at least pushed to 50."

Gutted customers took to Facebook to share their disappointment.

One said: "So so sad. I have been going here since the 70s. Such wonderful food.

"Nothing has been as good I do hope they have a well deserved retirement and stay safe. This is a massive loss to us in Folkestone."

A family enjoy a meal at Hop Kweng. Wai Chiang is pictured at the back. Picture: Wai Chiang
A family enjoy a meal at Hop Kweng. Wai Chiang is pictured at the back. Picture: Wai Chiang

Another said: "So sad, that was part of my childhood and a long standing Folkestone business."

Wai added: "Once again the Chiang family would like to extend our thanks to everyone who stuck by us over the many years we have been established.

"It has been a wonderful journey, meeting many friendly faces along the way.

"We can only hope that everyone stays safe and healthy through these troubling times."

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