Eva Lau hasn’t had much rest in decades.
Over the years, she and her brother, George Lau, have run five Chinese restaurants: one in St-Sauveur, Que., two in Florida and two in Montreal.
Over time, four of them have closed, but the one on Montreal’s Peel Street has been going strong for 32 years.
“After 35 years (as restaurateurs), it’s time that we go on retirement,” said Lau. “My brother and me, we decided it’s time to take a rest.”
“Everything good comes to an end.”
L’Orchidée de Chine is known for its mouthwatering Szechuan dishes, homemade wonton soup, fall-off-the-bone spareribs and plenty more.
The staff says it’s the secret recipes that make l’Orchidée unique.
“We have a lot of Chinese restaurants in Montreal, but most of them are kind of fast-food style,” said employee Yang Yu. “The flavour is very important, the recipes — we have a lot of secret recipes.”
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Lau says she enjoys the routine of simply coming into the restaurant to work, but what she’ll miss the most by far is spending time with her regulars.
“Mr. (Pierre) Elliott Trudeau, (who was) a regular for over 30 years,” said Lau. “Last week, Justin came by to say goodbye, which was very nice.”
Longtime customers say, for them, the restaurant is like home and the Laus are family.
“Another institution going by the wayside,” said longtime client Stephen Bronfman. “We’ll all adapt but we’ll miss it.”
Lau says that in her retirement, she plans to put more time into her clay jewelry line and do some volunteer work as well.
Meanwhile, her brother is hoping to do some travelling.
The Laus will host one final dinner service on Sunday.