HAMILTON, Ohio — High St. Café will close at the beginning of June, and owners Phil and Alena Wong said they’ve already identified a buyer who will keep the building at 250 High St. as a restaurant.
Phil Wong said they’re selling because his family needs to come first.
“It’s a family-run business. My mother has a lot of health issues right now, and we have four kids,” he said.
Wong said the pandemic and shortage of service industry workers also factored into his decision.
Last May, the Wong's switched to a carryout-only model and it allowed them to put more focus on the catering side of the business.
“Everything’s just pulling us in different directions,” he said. “We just kept on talking about it, and we want to have more quality of life, for one. I know how this business works and how it operates. I’m not scared of it at all," Wong said. “We’re trying to have more quality time and family time. You only live once. It’s just not worth the headaches anymore, the stress.”
The Wongs “very quietly” put the word out in the industry and a number of people responded, and a person from Cincinnati seemed to be the best fit. They won’t say who the buyer is, but would say they’ll be keeping 250 High St. as a restaurant ― it may not be the same concept, however ― and their last day for carryout is June 9, which is also when they’ll end their catering as High St. Café. Officially, they’ll own the property until June 30, and the new owner will take over July 1, Phil Wong said.
What life will be after High Street Café has not yet been written, but Phil Wong said he plans to be a chef working for someone, and Alena said she’ll refocus on being a yoga instructor, which was what she did prior to the cafe opening.
The Wong's have owned and operated High St. Café since it opened in June 2015 in downtown Hamilton, and it has become a staple eatery for the city. They purchased the building in July 2014, and 11 months later opened the café.
They will auction off most of the eclectic items inside the store near the end of June.
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