Diner’s Diary

Lucy’s restaurant in Stanley to close this summer after 23 years as a Hong Kong South Side fixture

Rising competition, declining sales, and difficulties hiring staff have hit one of the first Western restaurants to open in Stanley, says manager, and now owner Lucy Humbert is leaving Hong Kong

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 31 May, 2017, 12:33pm
UPDATED : Wednesday, 31 May, 2017, 2:13pm

An institution on Hong Kong Island’s South Side is closing after 23 years.

Lucy’s restaurant on Stanley Main Street will shut its doors in the last week of July, with owner Lucy Humbert moving back to the UK.

Ricky Chan Yau-kee has been managing the restaurant for almost all its 23 years, during which its menu has rarely changed, and has mixed feelings about it closing. He doesn’t know what he’ll be doing next.

“I was 23 years old when I started working at Lucy’s as a manager,” he recalls – quite young for such a position, though having previously worked at The Peninsula and the Regal Airport Hotel in Kai Tak, he would have been well qualified for the job.

“The guests were great and the salary was pretty good, so that’s why I stayed. The owner [Humbert] was always in the kitchen so the guests knew us better than her,” he says.

Many of our guests retired and their children prefer to go dine in other places
Ricky Chan

The decision to close was a difficult one. Humbert had asked the staff if they would like to take over the restaurant from her, but Chan says after much deliberation they declined, citing a steady decline in business year after year and difficulties finding enough staff to run the restaurant. In the past few years it’s been hard to find young chefs to help out in the kitchen, and as a result he’s had to do some of the cooking himself, particularly for the catering side of the business.

“Many of our guests retired and their children prefer to go dine in other places. We also used to have a lot of bankers come to our restaurant, but many of them left Hong Kong,” says Chan, now 45. He notes that when Lucy’s opened there weren’t as many restaurants around, and Stanley Plaza had not been developed.

Café Deco chef Martin Kniss gets nostalgic about pioneering oyster craze in Hong Kong

Nevertheless, he will remember the guests who have come and gone at Lucy’s. “There have been some guests who left and over 10 years later come back and I remember their names and they cried,” Chan recalls. “I developed good relationships with them and I’m proud of myself for that.”

Humbert opened Lucy’s in September 1994. “A few years before that she was in the catering business, and then she had the opportunity to open a restaurant in Stanley,” says Chan. “I started a few months later in February 1995.”

Lucy’s, G/F, 64 Stanley Main Street, Stanley. Tel: 2813 9055