The Yee family made it official today that the Hu Ke Lau in Chicopee is closing, but added the family is working on a new vision for the site.
The Hu Ke Lau is a local landmark.
Johnny and Linda Yee founded the Hu Ke Lau 53 years ago - April 6, 1965 to be exact - so if it has to close, it's only fitting that on April 6, 2018 that it will lock its doors.
"Come April 6, 2018, we will be closing our doors not for good, but yet for another generation to enjoy," said Hu Ke Lau general manager Andy Yee.
Yee makes it official. The 53-year old Hu Ke Lau is closing, but the Yee family will stay in Chicopee and not sell the property.
"We come with a heavy heart sitting in front of you folks today. However, we come with a mindful eye for the future. We plan on redeveloping this property," Yee explained.
Yee wouldn't see what the future holds for the property, saying it's too premature. He did say the Yee family has been putting Band-Aid on Band-Aid to fix the 27,000 square foot building over the years.
There are memories galore at the Hu Ke Lau and its Polynesian shows and comedy acts.
Pictures of those comedians and entertainers who have performed over the years. A huge poster with autographs of those performers.
Customers remain stunned by the news.
"We have a lot of people we know who work here. It's Chicopee. A lot of people know Hu Ke Lau. It's odd you don't know or heard of the Hu Ke Lau," said Jessica Plasse of Springfield.
Ted Lachtara of Southwick added, "Little bit of shock, but understand they have needs to change, their business. They have to do what they have to do. It will be a loss though."
Yee said employees will be offered jobs at other restaurants the Yee family is involved with. He also said that the family will develop what he called a new visionary idea for the site.
"There's always another chapter in the Yee family book and this is one chapter we'll close and will continue another chapter moving on forward," Yee noted.
There were rumors over the weekend that the Hu Ke Lau would be moving into MGM Springfield.
We asked Yee about that today. He said "you never say never" but at this time, there are no plans to move to the casino.
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