Owner of closed China Inn hopes to bring new restaurant

Owner of closed China Inn hopes to bring new restaurant

A handwritten sign on the door of the China Inn on Main Street states that it’s closed for vacation, and sorry for the inconvenience, but its owner’s statements make it sound as if the restaurant will be closed permanently. (Breeze photo by Russell Gusetti)

PAWTUCKET – Since at least Jan. 1, a sign in the window of the China Inn, a fixture in downtown Pawtucket for decades, has stated that the owners have been on vacation.

The timing of the Main Street closure, given the fact that January is traditionally a busy month for the restaurant, has prompted widespread speculation about its future, with many suggesting that it might be sold or moved to a new spot.

Owner Louis Yip, who has numerous business interests in downtown Pawtucket and elsewhere, told The Breeze on Monday that he and his family “are working on something new” for the restaurant.

“We’re getting old,” he said of the family members who have run the restaurant, including his sister and wife. He said “it’s not that easy” to staff the restaurant.

Yip, 71, said he’s been in the restaurant business since he was 26, and while it’s been a great run and he would love to keep the China Inn open, he’s getting tired.

He said he’s hoping to get a new restaurant in the same spot, but didn’t confirm whether the restaurant is being sold.

“It may be run by other people,” he said. “We don’t know yet. We’re still working on that.”

Asked what type of restaurant might replace the China Inn, Yip said he thinks it will offer American fare.

The China Inn, located at 285 Main St., was first opened in 1976 on Dexter Street in Central Falls, according to its website, but growth of the business demanded bigger and better facilities, prompting the move to Pawtucket’s downtown in 1985.

The restaurant across from the Pawtucket School Department can accommodate up to 150 people and has banquet facilities for up to 100 people. The menu features a variety of Chinese cuisine from the regions of Hunan, Sichuan, Canton, Beijing (Mandarin), and more.