A major purveyor of Chinese food has closed its doors in the GTA after 20 years in business.

Ho-Lee-Chow left a message on its call centre voicemail Wednesday night for anyone seeking its MSG-free Cantonese chow mein or sweet-and-sour chicken balls.

"Due to circumstances beyond our control -- one of which is the poor economic climate -- another of which is a refusal to compromise on quality and service you've come to appreciate, Ho-Lee-Chow has closed down operations," the message said.

The company thanked its customers for their patronage over the years.

Ho-Lee-Chow began in 1989 with six Toronto locations, but eventually expanded to other provinces.

Some have described it as being the Pizza Pizza of Chinese food, referring to the ubiquitous pizza chain that dominates the southern Ontario market.

As of Wednesday, Ho-Lee-Chow's website had been taken down.

But reports say some Ho-Lee-Chow franchises may keep their restaurants going by changing names.