The Feed: 46-Year-Old Chinese Restaurant Closes, Happy Hour Specials Emerge

Indy loses a Hooters, a new Nicole-Taylor’s menu, and more of Indy’s freshest dining news.
House of Cheung sign
The sign in front of 46-year-old Indianapolis restaurant House of Cheung. (Courtesy photo)

It’s the end of an era. Northside Chinese food destination House of Cheung is set to close on June 30 after 46 years in business. Its owner, Peter Cheung, couldn’t be happier.

“I’ll miss my customers,” the 73-year-old concedes. “There are so many of them that I love! But I’m ready to live a quiet life.”

Cheung comes from Indy dining royalty: His grandfather and great-uncles came to the U.S. from China at the turn of the last century, stopping in San Francisco, Salt Lake City, and Detroit before settling in Indianapolis. They opened one of the city’s first Chinese restaurants “in Monument Circle,” Cheung says, some time in the early 1900s. (This article from the Indiana Historical Society does a nice job of recapping the century-plus of Cheung family businesses across Indianapolis, including the Mandarin and Bamboo Inns.) 

“Much of the other family wasn’t able to join them,” Cheung says, citing the political upheaval across China at that time. That included his parents, who raised him in the Mainland. He came to Indianapolis as a young man, in 1971.

Soon after, he and his wife, Mei, had their daughter and son; at the same time, he and Mei (along with his mother, Chui King Lam Cheung) opened the House of Cheung’s first location. “There were maybe seven other Chinese restaurants in Indianapolis back then,” Cheung says. “And so many, it was just chop suey,” he says, referring to a highly Americanized dish popular in that era. “We were serving a real taste of China and raising two kids at home. We were so busy!”

The restaurant moved to its present location at 2460 E. 71st St. (near Keystone Ave.) 36 years ago and remained there ever since. Cheung’s mother worked with him in the kitchen until her health started to fade. She passed away about five years ago. Cheung has kept cooking every day, along with his similarly aged staff. “We’re a senior citizen home,” Cheung says with a laugh.

Or maybe it’s more like a family. The restaurant cut back its hours and moved to carryout-only in the pandemic but still pauses business for a staff-only family meal every night of operation. “At some restaurants, they eat fast in the kitchen. But we all sit down at the big table in the dining room,” Cheung says. “It’s nice. I’ll miss that.”

But with a staff in their 70s, the demanding pace of restaurant work is something they’re all eager to leave behind. House of Cheung will shut its doors for good by Sunday, or sooner “if we sell out of all our food,” Cheung says. “Come soon if you want the good chicken, or the special beef,” he says. “When it’s gone, it’s gone forever.”

For the first time in 40 years, happy hour drink specials will be legal in Indiana as of Monday, July 1. We have a report on everything you need to know about the new law (which also covers carryout cocktails), but based on the folks I spoke with for the story, a lot of bars and restaurants are taking a wait-and-see approach. A notable exception is Huse Culinary, the restaurant group behind St. Elmo Steakhouse, Harry and Izzy’s, and other local institutions. Those spots are diving in on day one with a lineup of specials, including $5 discounts on wine by the glass and certain spirits and $3 off draft beer. Check out Huse’s site for a happy hour location near you.



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A post shared by Nicole-Taylor’s Pasta + Market + Backroom Eatery (@ntpastaindy)

Nicole-Taylor’s (1134 E. 54th St., 317-257-7374) just dropped its summer menu for its Backroom Eatery, and it looks pretty fantastic. The market/pop-up spot/in-demand chef’s table business also does a booming trade in lunch from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Tuesday–Saturday but is taking the first week of July off. When they’re back, I’m first in line for the artichoke melt and the mushroom gnudi, and maybe the peach and beet salad, too.


Am I dating myself by noting that certain more reverent members of my high school choral group refused to attend a Union Square holiday singing gig due to the newly opened Hooters location in its food court? Oh, to go back to the days when short shorts and a tank top was what set folks a-twitter. But perhaps our present-day inability to be titillated by a simple double entendre is why the wings chain has hit a rough patch, announcing this week that it would shutter around 40 locations across the U.S. That includes the company’s Castleton location (6426 E. 82nd St.) and way down south in Clarksville. Given the current shorts-and-tank-friendly weather and the abundance of excellent chicken in both of those cities, I suspect their customers will be just fine.