Russell Eng has owned the J. J. Morgan Restaurant in the University Heights Mall for 25 years. (Devon Bidal/News Staff)

Saanich’s J. J. Morgan Restaurant to close after 32 years

Owner chooses to shut down ahead of University Heights redevelopment

After more than 30 years of serving comfort food, Saanich’s J.J. Morgan Restaurant is closing its doors.

Russell Eng has owned and operated the restaurant for 25 years. Recently, he made the difficult decision to close at the end of April rather than relocate during the redevelopment planned by Wesbild, the company that owns the University Heights Mall property.

READ ALSO: Second redevelopment proposal University Heights aims to address community concerns

Ahead of the redevelopment, Wesbild has worked with the existing tenants to figure out what the future holds, said a spokesperson for the Vancouver-based company in a statement.

Most were told they will have to relocate to make room for the proposed mixed-use complex which, if approved by the District, will include six new buildings and almost 530 rental units to be set above retail spaces and various restaurants.

Eng has mixed feelings about the impending closure of the restaurant. He’s going to miss the routine, the chicken pot pie, his “crew” and regulars who’ve become like family.

“Everybody is a regular here,” Eng said. “It’s the community meeting place.”

In more than two decades at the restaurant, he’s seen children grow up, get married and then bring their own babies by.

READ ALSO: Company commits to redeveloping Saanich’s University Heights

Eng said some customers come in on a daily basis and he’s not sure where they’ll all go now.

As for the staff, almost a dozen have worked by his side for more than 20 years and he couldn’t just open another restaurant because it wouldn’t be J. J. Morgan’s without his crew.

“They’re the heart of the restaurant,” he said.

Despite feeling sad about the end of an era, Eng is choosing to look at the closure as an early retirement. He looks forward to doing some travelling and finally having the time to check a few things off his to-do list.

For now, Eng is in the process of sharing the news with his regulars and enjoying the last few months in business. No farewell party has been planned, but Eng isn’t opposed to a send-off.


@devonscarlett
Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

devon.bidal@saanichnews.com

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Recent arrests skim surface of Victoria’s human trafficking problem

Port city makes desirable place for traffickers flying under the radar

Two-vehicle crash in Langford sends one to hospital Monday morning

Driver sent to hospital with unspecified injuries

Victoria Canadian Forces member honored with exceptional Rotary Club award

Capt. Jacqueline Zweng is the Western Canada Ambassador of Wounded Warriors Canada

Oak Bay athletes rule the slopes at Island ski and snowboard series

Oak Bay boys take top ski, snowboard honours

B.C. budget expected to stay the course as economic growth moderates

Finance minister said ICBC costs have affected budget

VIDEO: Ottawa wants quick, peaceful resolution to pipeline protests, Trudeau says

The protests have manifested themselves as blockades on different rail lines across the country

Canucks acquire forward Tyler Toffoli from Kings in push for playoffs

Vancouver sends Schaller, Madden, pick to L.A.

New highway proposed between Alberta and B.C.

The route would connect Red Deer to Kamloops

Wet’suwet’en and B.C. government have been talking Aboriginal title for a year

Coastal GasLink says it has agreements with all 20 elected First Nations councils along the 670-kilometre route

Trudeau tightlipped on plan to end protests ‘quickly and peacefully’

The prime minister, who cancelled a two-day trip to Barbados this week to deal with the crisis at home

Canadian standards for coronavirus protection to be reviewed, health agency says

The protocols set out how health workers should protect themselves and their patients

Monday marks one-year anniversary of man missing from Langley

42-year-old B.C. man, Searl Smith, was last seen leaving Langley Memorial Hospital on Feb. 17, 2019

Amtrak warns of delays as railways from Seattle to B.C. blocked by Wet’suwet’en supporters

Coastal GasLink said it’s signed benefits agreements with all 20 elected band councils along pipeline route

Federal emergency group meets on pipeline protests as rail blockades continue

There’s mounting political pressure for Trudeau to put an end to the blockades

Most Read