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After 59 years in business, Sea-Hi Famous Chinese Chop Suey Restaurant closes its doors -- and with it comes the end of many longstanding memories.
The Toronto institution faces closure for a multitude of reasons, one of those being that the landlord seeks to turn the property into a retail space.
The restaurant announced on their Facebook page early last month that they would be closing on February 29, 2020. However, after the overwhelming response and support from the community, Stanley Chui and his family decided to extend their stay for an extra week to serve their devote guests.
In an interview with The Toronto Sun, Stanley Chui’s daughter, Melanie said, "Every teacher and manager in the private school that was Jewish would say they’d been going to Sea-Hi since they were a child and their grandparents took them there and that’s how they were introduced to it as a Sunday gathering spot.”
Sea-hi's crowd favourite, breaded chicken sticks with bacon.
For the Jewish community of North York, Sea-Hi was more than a local Chinese restaurant -- it was a hub for celebratory events, Sunday gatherings and a home away from home for multiple generations.
Driven by nostalgia, Sea-Hi is serving up its most beloved classics in the last few days of operation. Patrons have been waiting upwards of an hour to get there hands on favourites including bacon-wrapped fried chicken sticks, Vancouver ribs and garlic sticky ribs -- all part of the original menu since the day Sea-Hi opened in 1961.
The outpour of messages from long-time patrons of the restaurant garnered local media attention across the city. But that’s not the only thing the famous chop suey house has gained recognition for.
The 50’s themed decor served as the perfect backdrop for Colin Firth's and Kevin Bacon’s 2017 film, Where the Truth Lies. The actors subsequently named the server in their movie after Stanley Chui himself. The restaurant was also featured in Larry Weinstein’s Canadian documentary film, Dreaming of a Jewish Christmas.
Since their announcement, the restaurant has witnessed a spike in business and extended wait times as people rush to enjoy Sea-Hi’s signature dishes for the last time. Sea-Hi Famous Chinese Chop Suey Restaurant is now set to close on March 8, 2020.