A Castor landmark is set to close just before Christmas — perhaps permanently.
In a move signifying the end of an era for one of Castor’s two remaining eateries, the Shangri-La Inn announced via Facebook on Dec. 11, 2021, that it would be closing its doors before Christmas.
“The decision to close down this business was not an easy one and we enjoyed the relationships with our customers over the years,” stated the written Facebook post.
“Shangri-La could not have been as successful as it was without your support.”
The restaurant, known throughout the region for its Chinese and western fare, sits at the corner of Main Street and 50 St. in Castor.
The restaurant was first opened on April 23, 1973, under the ownership of Eddie and Eleanor Mah.
The couple ran the business for 33 years, retiring in 2006 when the restaurant was then bought and operated by Sam Tang.
Tang operated the restaurant himself for 11 years, before retiring and leasing the building to Tony and Crystal Tong, who have operated the restaurant since 2017.
Due to difficulties with speaking the English language, Tong denied an interview request to discuss his reasons for closing the restaurant; however, according to long-time restaurant hostess Penny Roessler the decision comes from Tong’s turning 65 this month and wanting to retire.
The Shangri-La Inn has been in continuous operation for nearly 49 year, and is a well-known spot for the coffee crowd, after church crowd, and as a place to celebrate birthday suppers, as well as a variety of other special events.
The restaurant even offered catering.
Even throughout the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020 the restaurant stayed open to take-out service, serving their well-known food to their many customers in the region.
Despite the easing of restrictions as the pandemic has progressed, the restaurant has remained steady as a takeout only business since the spring of 2020, and the closure is a void which will be felt in the community.
“A closure of a business is never a good thing,” said Mayor Richard Elhard.
“We’re really disappointed. Hopefully somebody will buy the building and reopen it.”
Plans for the building are still up the air.
According to Tang, there is a possibility that he may reopen the restaurant himself sometime in the new year, at least until new people to lease or buy the building can be found.
“I don’t want to see that building sitting empty,” said Tang.
“But my capability is not like it was before.”
The final day of operation for the restaurant will be Dec. 23, and anyone with outstanding gift certificates are asked to use them before that date.