Nanking restaurant to close after 72 years

Published: Aug. 19, 2009 at 9:13 PM CDT|Updated: Aug. 28, 2009 at 1:26 PM CDT
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By Fred Childers - bio|email

SHREVEPORT, LA - KSLA - For the better part of a century, Nanking's has been serving up meals to loyal customers.

"I know all my customers, I rarely have to ask them what they like to eat, they usually don't look at menus," said Susan Young, whose been waitressing there for ten years.

But that service will soon come to an end because Nanking's is set to close at the end of August, partly because of a slower economy.

Owner, Anna Ikari  was born into the business.

"It was constant in the family, everything was based on working, my father was at work all the time, we didn't get to see him that much," said Ikari.

Chances are, her dad was doing the same thing Anna does, or her workers do - taking care of hungry patrons.

Who were just as much a part of the restaurant as they are.

"It's been a family tradition for about 30 years that we've been coming here.... And we decided to come in and get some sweet and sour chicken for the last time," said customer, Tina Balentine.

The latest economic downturn is really nothing new to the ikari's. Nanking's stayed open during the great depression, even prospered during the oil boom, and suffered a little bit during the oil bust. But the restaurant stayed open the entire time.>

We were able to make it, and do pretty good....well, being downtown i think helped, because it was still a concentration of people," said Ikari.

And because of that, Nankings would employ, and feed generations.

"When i was little I used to eat like 30 ka jillion pieces of bread and sweet and sour sauce," said Hannah Balentine.

The restaurant is closing, but those memories for people like Hannah will last a lifetime.

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