CLOSURE

PERMANENT CLOSURE: Workers remove equipment from HAKKA Restaurant and Bar on Taylor Street and Ariapita Avenue, Woodbrook, yesterday. —Photo: ISHMAEL SALANDY

Indian-style Chinese cuisine HAKKA Restaurant and Bar has permanently closed its doors at its Ariapita Avenue, Woodbrook, location.

The closure was attributed to a decline in fine dining and the economic downturn, coupled with the Covid-19 pandemic.

The restaurant said it was moving to a “modern alternative” which will be rolled out at Brentwood Mall in Chaguanas.

HAKKA announced on its Facebook page on Monday that after 11 years on the Avenue, it will be saying goodbye to its “mother ship” establishment.

“We wish to thank all our dear guests who have supported us through the years. This is not the end but, rather, a new beginning for us all to share. We are extremely excited to have you join us on this journey,” the post stated.

HAKKA said commencing this month, “we will start rolling out a new à la carte menu in all express locations”.

Owner Marcus Jagdeo told the Express yesterday that even before the onset of Covid, the restaurant industry had noticed a decrease in people dining out and less liming on the Avenue.

“Especially on the western end of the Avenue in particular, where the restaurant and bar was located, activity has died down a lot. All the restaurants on that Avenue are feeling the pinch. There was a lot of talk by the Government to revive the strip but that has not yet been developed,” he said in a phone interview.

Jagdeo noted: “The closure on the Avenue is not the death of HAKKA as the new location at Brentwood Mall in Chaguanas in a few months will offer the options of indoor and outdoor dining, an express section along with a drive-through. People want more convenience such as parking along with tighter security for parked vehicles.”

Hope for 2022

Jagdeo said the move to reopen in Chaguanas was a “rebirth” and he was confident that foot traffic will be greater as there will now be options available to customers buying food to go.

He said a new HAKKA Express will be located at Piarco Plaza soon and a new a la carte menu will be rolling out at other locations, as in-house dining is restricted at this time.

“It is not all gloom and doom. While restaurants globally have been suffering from a decline in fine dining sales, innovation is the key to survival. We are hoping that by 2022 the industry and the business sector on a whole begins to thrive again,” Jagdeo added.

Earlier this month, after 15 years of operations, Chaud Restaurant closed its doors.

Its founder, chef Khalid Mohammed, in a social media post indicated that Chaud Events, Chaud Café & Wine Bar and Chaud Café Vite will continue.

And on Monday evening, Joe’s Pizza Italian Restaurant said their St Augustine branch has been permanently closed, but their Chaguanas, Diego Martin and Maraval branches remain open.

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