- Eric Schwartzberg Staff Writer
A Hamilton restaurant with more than three decades in business — the majority of them under current ownership — is set to close this month.
Chinese Lantern owners Sherry and Peter Chung are retiring from the business they’ve run for 21 years at 965 Main St on Hamilton’s West Side.
The restaurant offers four styles of cooking — Cantonese, Hunan, Szechuan and limited Vietnamese dishes — in a casual dining atmosphere.
Peter Chung, Chinese Lantern’s head chef, started his professional career when he was 14 years old, according to the restaurant’s Facebook page. He learned his trade — Hunan, Szechuan, Cantonese and Beijing cooking — in Taiwan, then enriched his experience by working in Chinese restaurants in Taipei, Singapore and Cape Town, South Africa before coming to the United States.
David and Marge Belew, of Hamilton, said Chinese Lantern is their favorite area restaurant, one they’ve patronized both under previous ownership and the Chungs, as well.
“Peter’s a wonderful chef,” David Belew said. “The food is extraordinarily good and his wife, Sherry, is a marvelous hostess who makes everybody feel at home. They’re a great team.”
Chinese Lantern emerged over the years as “a destination place” with a loyal following, he said.
“Our hearts are broken that they’re closing,” Belew said. “We’ve become very good friends with Sherry and Peter. They’re like part of our family. It’s a real loss for the community.”
News of the closing has sparked an outpouring of love on social media for the restaurant and for the Chungs, who are described by many as “great people” admired by the community and the restaurant as an integral part of the city.
Chuck Swanner, of Hamilton, said he’ll miss the “awesome” food, but would miss Sherry Chung most of all.
“She’s just simply the best,” Swanner said. “There’ll never ever be another Chinese Lantern! A very sad day for our city!”
Mary Durning, of Hamilton, said Chinese Lantern has been, for many years, the “go-to” restaurant for great food, great service and meeting with friends.
“I have mixed feelings,” Durning said. “Sad for me but happy for Sherry and Peter in their retirement! Best wishes to them for a great life ahead!”
Ashley Houchens, of Cincinnati, reminisced about the restaurant being a part of her childhood.
“This was me and my grandma’s favorite place to go when I was a little girl!” Houchens said. “She’s been gone 5 years now and it holds such special memories.”
The Chungs provided lunch to the Hamilton Police Department on Monday and the department thanked them via its Facebook page, calling them “great supporters and friends.”
“This was a bittersweet luncheon, as we are happy for Sherry and Peter as they embark on their retirement journey, and yet we will truly miss them and the cozy atmosphere with great food they have always provided to the citizens of Hamilton,” reads the Facebook post.
Journal-News was the first to report on the Chinese Lantern’s impending closing. Share your memories here: