Editor's note: The captions were updated to correct the date of the closing. The restaurant will close April 30.
Chin's Restaurant, which grew to be a staple in downtown Arlington Heights after opening in 1958 when Chinese food was considered exotic in the area, will close April 30.
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Business is down 40 to 50 percent, said Tom Xia, who purchased the restaurant seven years ago when the Chin family sold it.
When Charles and Sue Chin opened the restaurant, their closest Chinese competition was in Park Ridge, and they had to also serve traditional American dishes to draw customers. Their son, Ed, and his wife, Mary, took over the restaurant and operated it for about 20 years before selling it.
Xia blames the lack of business on the bad economy.
John Melaniphy, the village's business & development coordinator, said the restaurant was too big for the type of business it has now, and he was working with Xia to find another place appropriate for a food business that is mostly carryout. But Xia said that enterprise might come in the future, and for now he needs to get a job.
Village President Arlene Mulder said it is ironic that Chin's is closing when the Asian influence and population in Arlington Heights has increased so much.
"It was the place to go to get egg rolls and eat Chinese," she said. "That's probably where I learned to eat with chopsticks."
Mulder said it is sad and makes her nostalgic to see the restaurant close.
"Change is inevitable. We're losing something that we've always had. But that's a great thing about this country," she said. "We don't control things like that. With private enterprise you get to make that decision when it's time to go."
Melaniphy said at the height of the recession, restaurants in the Chicago metropolitan area lost $600 million.
"They had really declining sales while at the same time food costs were rising, he said.