Port Arthur Restaurant New York
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Port Arthur Restaurant
The Port Arthur Restaurant was also established in 1897 and operated for more than 85 years. Chu Gam Fai was the original owner who started this restaurant business. The restaurant's name was selected to be named after a city that was located in the northeastern China coast where the first victory of Asian power over European power had occurred in 1894. The restaurant was located on the second and third floors of 7–9 Mott Street.
The entrance of the restaurant was an awning ornate pagoda-style and the Chinese pagoda-style balcony would eventually become a trademark for the rest of the period of the restaurant business. It was the first Chinese restaurant in NYC's Chinatown to obtain a liquor license. The upper floor dining rooms of the restaurant were reserved only for private parties and banquets, where many local Chinese residents held wedding parties and family ceremonial dinners while the lower floor was for smaller groups of customers or after hour slummers, which was termed at American tourists of the gay nineties who were in search for exotic adventures.
The restaurant was known for its delicious Chinese style dishes and delicacies as well as Chinese style designs of the restaurant's dining halls with inlaid pearl mahogany tables, teakwood chairs, ornate wood carved panels, windscreens, lanterns, and chandeliers. The East Hall dining room had a baby grand piano for entertainment.
By 1910, the East Hall was redesigned to already have the long sized tables set up for banquets. To distinguish itself from the East Hall, the West Hall dining room had no walls or screens to divide the room and each table was set up only for four seats to accommodate smaller groups. There was also a special room for a bride's traditional change into different red dresses for various stages of the wedding reception.
The restaurant served a special luncheon everyday from 11am-3pm except for holidays and Sundays. Eventually, an escalator was established in the restaurant to make it easier for customers to access the second and third floors where the restaurant was located in the building. This restaurant was very conveniently located near an elevated train at Chatham and subway station at Worth Street. During that time an elevated train rail existed in the area.
February 12th, 2013
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