It was on the harbourfront when it opened 60 years ago. Today, surrounded by high-rises, it is one of the few remaining Cantonese restaurants of that era in the city. But by the end of next month, Lung Moon Restaurant will be rubble. With red lanterns hung outside its two copper gates, which feature dragons, the restaurant's distinctive vintage appearance contrasts with the rest of bustling Johnston Road in Wan Chai. Early this month, the operator put up a poster outside the restaurant announcing that it would be closed down by the end of next month, after a developer in July bought the 4,000 square foot, four-storey property for HK$420 million, which was 120 times what the operators paid for it in 1975. It will be redeveloped into a residential block and shopping mall. Since news of its closing spread, more people have visited. Some carry cameras to capture its last moments. The good price for the site was certainly one reason for the sale, but it was also because of the restaurant's dwindling business over the past two decades in the face of keen competition from fast-food shops, the restaurant's managing director, Thomas Tse Kai-yin, said. In its 1980s heyday, the restaurant operated 24 hours a day and made as much as HK$2.7 million a month. But since the boom in fast-food culture, the monthly income had fallen to just above HK$1 million, said Tse, 56, who with his brothers took over the restaurant from his father. 'In the old days, there were few cha chaan teng or fast-food shops. Now, they are ubiquitous.' While being behind the times was the restaurant's signature, Tse lamented its being in conflict with the real world. 'It is a dilemma,' he said. 'The old style is the character of Lung Moon, but at the same time it is what makes it less viable - the old style makes it unable to attract younger diners.' Its anachronism may have attracted celebrities to throw a catwalk show there, but it has also lost it wedding banquets. The age of the restaurant, in which stoves were still running on diesel rather than gas, was an obstacle to revamping it. Tse said that the challenge the restaurant now faced was different from those such as the 1973 stock market crisis and the days of water shortages - a disaster for the catering industry - which hard work could get them through. 'It's a trend rather than a one-off challenge,' he said. 'So finally I decided to close it down.' He said the sale was not one of those spur-of-the-moment decisions. The property had been up for sale for more than 10 years, and it was the first time he thought the price and timing were right to sell. 'Urban redevelopment is something inevitable,' he said. 'While redevelopment destroys some things, it brings some good new things at the same time.' The closing of the restaurant means that its regular customers, now old, will lose one of their favourite haunts. Luk Sang, 73, a retired tailor who goes to yum cha at Lung Moon almost every morning, is one of them. He said the inexplicable bond between customers and restaurant staff had made his visit habitual over the past 40 years. 'It's a regret that it is going to close down,' he said. 'I feel I am somehow linked to the Lung Moon in a way I can't explain. It's like I need to sit at the same table every day - I feel uncomfortable if I have to switch to another table. 'Perhaps it's because of the subtle relationship between the customers and the staff. We do not know each other's names, but we talk every day. 'Now I need to try out different restaurants.' And gone will be its signature charcoal-roasted pork and goose, as the restaurant is one of the few that still hold a licence to cook with charcoal. The government has stopped granting such licences. Tse has decided to give away the rusty cash registers from the 1960s to museums and donate signs inscribed with messages of longevity and joy to old people's homes. But he will keep the dragon gates and an exquisite woodcut for a comeback when he finds a suitable place to house a new-meets-old Lung Moon.