To anyone who is not from Allegan, the Chinese restaurant located at 1165 Lincoln Road looks legitimate. However, hungry out-of-towners are often disappointed to learn the restaurant is closed. In fact, it never even opened!

What's the story behind this mystery restaurant?

As an Allegan resident myself I have always been curious to know what really happened with Hong Kong of Allegan. I have spoken in the past about Allegan's serious lack of diversity when it comes to food options. That's why we residents were so excited when we first learned we were getting our own Chinese restaurant!

I don't remember exactly when Hong Kong of Plainwell started to build their Allegan location just off the M-89 strip, but I remember anxiously awaiting an opening day that never came. Construction moved fast despite crews working on two separate spaces: one for the restaurant and one for the family to live in.

The story goes that the owners of Hong Kong's highly successful location in Plainwell decided to branch out and open a second location further down the road. That much we know. What happened beyond that is a mystery, that's why I turned to my local Allegan Facebook group to inquire whether anyone had some insight as to what truly happened to the ill-fated restaurant.

I had always heard that the water table had been contaminated by either nearby Rapa Electric or the mechanic shop that had sat their previously. Due to the water quality not being suitable for commercial consumption, the would-be restaurant failed to meet code and was never able to open for business to the public.

It's hard to distinguish the truth, but my fellow Allegan County residents had a few theories of their own. Some range from contractor issues, to seedy deeds, to code issues. Here's what the locals said:

Billy Schell,

I grew up behind it and we waited forever for it to open and it never did. They are related to the people that own the Hong Kong in Plainwell. They had family feud and just never opened.

Nancy Maccune,

They built a business and wanted to live in the building too it's not allowed you are right it didn't match up to code

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It was also interesting to hear from the residents who had moved to Allegan after the fact, and hadn't heard the storied history of the building. Patrick Ballard said,

I thought it just went out of business. We’ve had a home here since 2008, and it was closed then.

There have been many changes in Allegan since 2008 and thankfully one of them was the addition of Juan Lin's Chinese restaurant located next to Village Market, which makes driving by the building of empty promises more tolerable knowing I can still get my Chinese food fix without having to drive all the way to Plainwell.

I guess we'll never know what could have been!

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