Montana December 07, 2018
Montana’s Very First Chinese Restaurant Has Literally Been Around Forever
From an outside perspective, it may not seem like Montana is much of a hub for ethnic food. But that would be an incorrect assumption — in fact, our longest operating restaurant happens to be a Chinese eatery. In fact, it’s about as old as our state itself.
During the mining boom of the late 1800s, Butte was home to one of the largest Chinese populations in the West. And it was a Chinese immigrant family that founded this place.
There is some debate about when the Pekin Noodle Parlor opened its doors -- most people say 1909, but some say it opened in 1880. Either way, it's been around for awhile.
The restaurant is located at 117 S Main St. in Butte's historic downtown area.
They're open Wednesday-Sunday for dinner only.
Step inside the old brick building, head up a flight of narrow stairs, and you'll find the charming dining room.
While the property has been well-maintained, you can certainly tell it's been around for awhile.
The dining room is lined with curtained dining booths divided by orange beadboard partitions, which were common in authentic Chinese noodle parlors a century ago.
This has led to some rumors that the noodle parlor used to be a brothel. While there was a casino in the basement for a few decades, the owners insist this place was never a brothel.
The menu has remained mostly unchanged, consisting mainly of classics like chop suey, chow mein, and plenty of noodle dishes.
Everything is served family style.
Speaking of family... amazingly, the Pekin Noodle Parlor has stayed in the same family since its beginnings.
Danny Wong has owned the eatery since the 1950s, when he bought it from its founder, his great-uncle Hum Yow. His son helps him manage things these days.
While it's always exciting to check out a new restaurant, it's important to pay homage to these tried-and-true eateries as well.
The Pekin Noodle Parlor has really stood the test of time, and it remains a local favorite.
The Pekin Noodle Parlor is an important part of our local history. While you’re at it, support these
old Montana restaurants as well.