One Of The Older Chinese Restaurants in Chinatown is Gone

Actually Chinatown died when Empress Pavilion opened up. But there was no cause and effect there, just a coincidence. It opened midway between the debuts of NBC Seafood and Ocean Star in Monterey Park, which changed the locus of Chinese dining in LA.

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It opened back in the late 1980s. By then, Monterey Park was already in full blossom, even before places NBC or Jumbo. And in reality NBC, Jumbo, et al were the effects of markets (and strip malls) like DiHo Market opening up.

Yes but NBC was the first large banquet facility to open up back in 1986. Nam Tin opened in the late 70s (current home of Capital Seafood) but was undersized compared to NBC and Ocean Star. Even in the late 80s Chinese residents of Monterey Park were driving back to Chinatown to eat at ABC Seafood. The first city of San Gabriel strip mall didn’t open until 1987 and the big one five years later.

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True, but that’s just for restaurants.

And back in the 70s, Chinatown was much more than just Chinese restaurants; it was really the hub and mecca of Chinese commerce and culture (hence the moniker “Chinatown” and not Chinese Food Town or something equally awkward sounding).

The demise of Chinatown started when Chinese immigrants realized that there was a new, and better, option to buy stuff from their homeland (mostly, at that time, Taiwan). And it was Monterey Park.

Yes, restaurants are a real “lag” indicator in the development of an ethnic community. Lead indicators are banks and grocery stores. Chinese started populating Monterey Park around 1964, and the local population was over 2,000 by 1970. But the first authentic Chinese restaurant didn’t show up until 1975, and you didn’t get a critical mass until 10 years later.

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Not only did my family move out to the SGV in the mid 70’s, but many of our family friends moved out there as well. Housing was somewhat affordable. But I think the issue of schools was far more important. The school districts in the SGV were better than LAUSD.

I’ve always wondered whether the schools in the SGV were better to begin with, or have become better because of the demographics of the student immigrant population (read: helicopter parents).

My parents specifically moved to the SGV based on the recommendation of my LAUSD school principal. This was before the Taiwanese moved into the SGV. I was the only Chinese-American student in my class. When I started school in the SGV, it was very clear to me that the students and school were much better than my old school.

I believe it’s a self-feeding cycle. Families moved there because the schools were better. The schools improved as a result, so more families wanted to move there.


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Well the change was the influence of Vietnamese/Chinese in Chinatown. Largely people of Chinese descent who had lived in Viet Nam who speak Cantonese. Good example is Pho Broadway in Chinatown, where my wife converses with the owners in Cantonese.

Sorry to burst your bubble but Kim Chuy’s consistent business isn’t guaranteeing they will stay open. Word is the owners want to retire and the children have no interest in taking over the business so its on death watch too.

A good mix of Chinese-Vietnamese (especially true in Lincoln Heights), Chinese-Cambodians, and Chinese Chinese.

Well that’s that.

They had a good run.

30 something years. And the only restaurant still standing from the OG days.

Still remember eating at Far East Plaza as a kid and Wing Hop Fung, going up the stairs.

There was a kick ass Chinese BBQ place that I loved at the Far East Plaza.

If you hear anything about an actual closing date, let us know. Would love to go one last time.

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Hoping not to take this too off-topic but I can’t remember the name of another restaurant I used to go to often in the '70s. . It was on Alpine, I think, in the first block east of Broadway, on the north side of the street. We started going to Yang Chow when it first opened, and (I think) before it wound up on the not-authentic list), but our Chinese business associates also liked the place on Alpine.

Well the only restaurants on that part of Alpine were Chiu Heng (preceded by Lu Ming Chuen in the 70s) and a Vietnamese place (Vien Dongs) in the same little mall.

I could have the street wrong. Maybe on College or Ord (but I don’t recall it being that close to Phillipe’s). I don’t recall a Chinese name either, but it was a long time ago. It was definitely not Vietnamese. IIRC, it had a standard dining room look, much like Yang Chow. Not very big, but not takeout-like or with neon signage. No dim sum either, if that helps (though I don’t recall dim sum being a thing in those years).

Not a lot of restaurants on the north side of a side street east of Broadway. On Ord there’s Phoenix Inn (still there), Lime House in the location currently home to ABC Seafood, and Chung Mee, currently Little Jewel of New Orleans.

Hmmmm. You’d know what was there if anyone would. Lime House is sounding familiar.

“Old” (or maybe not so old) Chinatown places I used to frequent back in my student days (when dinosaurs walked the earth):
Mon Kee
Won Kok
Yang Chow (holding my head in shame)

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Lime House was on the NE corner of Ord and New High. Certainly the first banquet restaurant I remember as a tyke in the 50s. Reverse “L” shaped dining room that held about 20 tables on the right side and a handful of tables on the left. (Kitchen took up rest of the space.) Replaced by ABC Seafood in 1984.

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