If you’ve never been to the Lo Kai, you’re not really a Dracut resident.
The Lo Kai opened at 1655 Lakeview Avenue in 1972, so if you live in town, you can’t say you haven’t had time to visit.
On Sunday, December 4, owner Michael Hui threw a 50th birthday bash for about 80 of his best customers, and it was a day to recall memories and to make new ones.
“It was such a great time,” said Diane Bielecki, the Lo Kai’s resident Jacklyn of all trades.
Johnny Choi opened the Lo Kai in 1972, and Michael joined the staff as a busboy in 1977. When Johnny wanted to retire, Michael bought the restaurant in 1996.
“My first job, I started here, and my last job, I’ll finish here,” he said.
Like most other restaurants, the Lo Kai was reeling during, and in the wake of, the pandemic.
“It’s been tough, not only for us,” Michael said. “But right now it’s better.”
The Lo Kai has seen a resurgence of late, and Michael decided to show his thanks for their loyal customers.
“All of the customers have made it last this long,” Diane says,” and Michael wanted to thank them.”
Michael and his staff provided live entertainment and a smorgasbord of foods for the invited guests, which included Selectman Joe DiRocco and state Rep. Colleen Garry, who presented Michael with a proclamation from the State House thanking him for his “continued generosity to the town.”
Michael said he’s planning more promotions to celebrate the Lo Kai’s 50th in the new year – the Year of the Rabbit, incidentally.
In addition to his customers, Michael is grateful for his loyal staff, especially Diane, who has been with the Lo Kai for 30 years as manager of the function room, the entertainment booker and overall right-hand woman.
“She does everything for the Lo Kai,” Michael said.
“Heck, I clean the bathrooms,” she said with a laugh.
Diane said everyone has worked hard to keep the Lo Kai going through hard times, but she said the restaurant is back on its feet and moving forward.
“Michael has kept the doors open this long, and he’s determined to keep it going,” she said. “This place could write a book. If these walls could talk …”