Mikey’s Eatery: A second home to many
Published in the Waterloo Region Record
I can't remember a time when Mikey's Eatery was not a part of my life.
My parents, an electrical engineer, and an office clerk, came to Canada from Hong Kong in 1988. Not being able to find jobs similar to their trades back home and with a family to support, they took on odd jobs and eventually started working in a restaurant located in Conestoga Mall's food court.
As my sister and I were growing up, the fixed hours at the mall made it hard for my parents, to be a part of our lives, and so, after a few years, they decided it was time to move on.
They opened Mikey's Eatery, in Waterloo, in the fall of 2000. This place would become our second home for the next 18 years.
With no prior knowledge of running a business or cooking, my parents started on a journey that allowed them to create a safe space for students far from home, become "Waterloo parents" to many, and offer comfort, friendship and warmth to all who walked in.
When Mikey's first opened, my parents' goal was to create a livelihood for our family. They could never have imagined the impact they would have on those who walked through the doors — an impact that stayed and travelled from students to alumni, new immigrants, the K-W community and beyond.
It was not an easy decision to close Mikey's. The long hours, size of the restaurant and the age of my parents all factored into the decision.
It is definitely bittersweet, but as we move toward a life without Mikey's, we are thankful for everything it has taught us along the way and the people it brought into our lives.