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Last call for Chicken for Lunch, as eatery edges closer to closure


After nearly three delicious decades, a popular downtown eatery will be saying goodbye to its long lines and long-time customers.

Chicken for Lunch, a small restaurant in the Rice Howard Place food court, is closing at the end of February.

Owner and operator Amy Quon has been serving up lunch with a personal touch since 1991.

Known for its signature dry spicy chicken and lines stretching back dozens deep, the small restaurant has become a beloved institution for many Edmontonians.

"It's usually lined up to the escalator," said Dan Boisvert, who works nearby. "It's almost like a comfort food around here now it's been here so long."

"It's going to be an empty lunch hour for a few of us in the office," said Allan Santos, who works downtown and has known Quon for close to 20 years.

Santos said Quon has set the standard for getting to know her customers, doling out nicknames and keeping track of fan favorites for countless lunchtime visitors.

He said she never misses a beat when he brings in the weekly office lunch order.

"I take all the orders, I give [them] to Amy and she's designated a name for each," he added. "She'll ask me what day it is and how many people and then she knows who it's for.

"Her memory is just fantastic, the number of people that she knows, the hundreds of people that she sees daily and she can remember every order – it's just amazing."

Despite the continuing success of Chicken for Lunch, Quon decided to close ahead of upcoming renovations to the food court at Rice Howard Place.

She said the six-month shutdown was "a little bit too long" for her.

"At the same time, I'm getting old too," she added.

She'll miss her line up, Quon said, but she hopes to see many familiar faces visiting her at her new job.

"Only Chicken for Lunch retire, but not Amy," Quon said. "Amy still have to work."

"I got a job offer already," she added. "They offer me the CEO of the Lingnan restaurant."

Quon's family owns the Lingnan. Opened in 1947, it has a history and reputation of its own – featuring in a 2011 reality show called the Quon Dynasty.

It's that winning personality that will undoubtedly keep Chicken for Lunch diners dropping in on Quon for years to come, said Darlene Giacobbo, a decade-long downtown regular.

"I say that she's the epitome of what customer service should be. She knows people, she enjoys serving and she has a passion for what she does," Giacobbo said.

Chicken for Lunch's signature dry spicy chicken can be found at the Lingnan. Frozen heat-at-home versions can also be found at the Uproot Food Collective and Confetti sweets.

The last day for Chicken for Lunch will be Feb. 29. Top Stories

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