Eugene institution Louie's Village to close so owner can retire

Eugene institution Louie's Village to close so owner can retire »Play Video
A scene from the first TV commercial for Louie's Village on Franklin, "where East meets West."

EUGENE, Ore. - In March 1973, gas cost just under 40 cents per gallon, and a new Chinese restaurant opened on Franklin Boulevard "where East meets West."

Van Louie and his family first arrived in Oregon from China in 1966, settling first in Cottage Grove before buying the property that became Louie's Village.

"The first couple of years, what do you say - you eat what you don't serve," Louie recalled.

By word of mouth, business grew. 

So did the legions of loyal customers.

"Eugene, the restaurant and our homes and our family:  This is the American dream," Louie said.

After 41 years and more 16-hour work days than he'd like to count, Louie is ready for a change.

"It's like working 80 years of 40 hour weeks, so I guess I earned the right to retire," he said.
 
Many long-time customers have dropped by Louie's Village ahead of the December 31 closing date.

For Louie, it's been bittersweet experience.

A comment left in the guestbook says it all: "Why would you leave?"

"It's sad to see a family business leave an area,especially one that's been here as long as this one," said customer Paula Dombrosky.

All Louie can say is thanks for the memories.

"I and my family, we thank you for all your years of support and all your years of kindness and your friendship."