Yam Hee Shing (58) has owned the Wah Ying business, on Thorpe End, since 1990, after buying it from his father, Yung Kwai Shing, who had started it back in 1971.
Yam Hee has worked long hours alongside his wife, Tai Ying Shing, for many years and the couple are looking forward to a more relaxing lifestyle.
He told the Melton Times: “We are sad to be closing because Melton people are so friendly and we have enjoyed working here for so many years.
“We have had lots of generations of the same families coming to us and we have made many friends.
“Many people have given us thank you cards and they have been very kind.”
When Yung Kwai opened the shop half-a-century ago, little was known about Chinese food in Melton or in many other parts of the UK.
Yam Hee, who began helping out in the takeaway in the 1970s, recalled: “We were not very busy when we first opened.
“It was not until the late 1970s and early 1980s when Chinese food became popular in Melton and we started to get more customers.
“Compared to the 1970s, we have found that Cantonese-syle food is now much more popular, and things like chow mein and sweet and sour dishes.”
The 1990s were a particularly busy time for Yam Hee because he also owned another Chinese eaterie, the Peking Gardens in Burton Street.
There were times when he thought they would have to close Wah Ying because of development plans in the town centre.
“We had many uncertainties with the building over the 50 years, like when they wanted to build an inner relief road in the 1970s which would have gone through here and also in 1996 when they were thinking of extending the museum down this end of the road,” he recalled.
Like many businesses in Melton, Wah Ying suffered during the pandemic, but the enforced closures gave Yam Hee and Tai Ying time to spend together away from work.
Yam Hee added: “In the past when we closed for holidays we would go abroad but during the lockdown we have explored the UK when we have been able to and we really enjoyed it.
“Our two sons work in London now and we are looking forward to taking more holidays in the UK now.
“It will be sad to close our takeaway but nothing is for ever.”
The Wah Ying unit has been bought by another Chinese takeaway operator and it will reopen again after a refurbishment of the premises.