HOUSTON - A beloved restaurant on the University of Houston's campus is closing after the university decided not to renew the restaurant's lease.
Priscilla Yang has been shouting out order numbers at Chinese Star Restaurant for nearly 27 years. Every single order is tied to a memory feeding different generations of UH students.
"I call her mama, that's the nickname we gave her," said UH senior, Andre Abelara. "She's really nice and sweet and loves us."
But on December 17th, it all comes to an end. The kitchen will stop cranking out hot favorites. Yang will have to close her family-owned and operated restaurant for good.
"We tried to renew but they said no renew," said Yang.
UH decided to go in a different direction and refused to renew their lease. The university wants to explore other options for the building. They plan to renovate it and bring in a new different restaurant next fall.
"I cried a little," said Abelara.
Students don't want to see it go.
"It's a spot where I have a lot of memories with friends," said Abelara.
Abelara has been dining there every week for the last four years.
"Panda Express just doesn't really cut it," said Abelara.
The restaurant has turned into a huge part of campus life. Lines are out the door almost everyday. It's a locally owned haven that offers up something different.
"All the places we have on campus like Chic Fil-A are more commercial-type places," said one student. "It'd be nice to keep this one around."
So students cooked up a plan and started circulating an online petition on change.org to save the restaurant. More than 1,600 people have signed it so far.
"They tell me that they're going to miss me, and that they wish I could stay here," said Yang.
For Yang, these students aren't just customers, they're family.
"When they graduate, they get married, have children, and then their children come to school here and eat here," said Yang.
Now this extended family is hoping a change in fortune can keep the doors open a little longer. The family says it has a meeting with the university on December 7th.