A POPULAR Chinese dating back 50 years has been forced to close its restaurant and limit its opening hours due to issues with “overhead costs”.

Lon Wah bosses in London Road, Wickford, has announced their restaurant service is closing, but take-aways will continue, and it will now only open from 5.30pm.

The long-standing restaurant has been hugely popular with residents, but blamed “over-head costs” and a lack of “experienced, quality chefs” as the main reasons for the reduction.

The restaurant insisted the reduced hours and service will allow it to maintain the quality residents have come to expect.

As of Sunday, the Chinese stopped its lunch service and is only opening for evenings, while September 22 will be the final day of the restaurant.

From Monday, September 23, take-away will also be unavailable before beginning again on Tuesday, October 8.

The Chinese announced the news on Facebook, with residents immediately sharing their memories.

Many reminisced on visiting the restaurant for 20-plus years and praised the constant good service and the extremely friendly staff.

A spokesman for the restaurant said: “After long deliberation we regrettably announce the restaurant dining experience will no longer be in service.

“Overhead costs, experienced quality chefs are to name a couple of many factors for this change.

“From Sunday, September 1, we’ll no longer provide lunch service and will be opening from 5:30 pm and we will be closed every Monday of the week.

“September 22 will be our final day of the restaurant service with a few exceptions to honour advance reservations.

“We will then close for two weeks, from September 23, with takeaways resuming October 8.

“Moving forward to the future we endeavour to maintain the quality that is to be expected by Lon Wah with aims to continually to improve and evolve our takeaway service.

“We thank our customers dearly for their continued support, whether from the beginning 50 years ago or to those that have recently discovered our little corner of Wickford.”