“History doesn’t repeat itself, but it does rhyme.”
— Mark Twain

The Port Arthur Restaurant, Mott Street, New York City

Posted: November 20th, 2012 | 6 Comments »



The Port Arthur Restaurant was established in 1897 and operated on New York’s Mott Street for more than 85 years. Chu Gam Fai, the original owner, selected the name obviously after what is now Lushun and would have been a much more familiar name back then. The restaurant was located on the second and third floors of 7-9 Mott Street. The entrance was an awning ornate pagoda-style and the Chinese pagoda-style balcony would eventually become a desirable location to watch the bustle of the Lower East Side from.

The Port Arthur was the first Chinese restaurant in NYC’s Chinatown to obtain a liquor license with the upper floor dining rooms reserved for private parties and banquets, – mostly used by local Chinese for weddings  and family ceremonial dinners. The lower floor was for smaller groups of customers or after hour slummers wanting a little Chinatown chic. The furnishings were inlaid pearl mahogany tables, teakwood chairs, ornate wood carved panels, windscreens, lanterns, chandeliers and a baby grand piano.



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6 Comments on “The Port Arthur Restaurant, Mott Street, New York City”

  1. 1 Jenny said at 2:34 am on December 3rd, 2015:

    Thank you for posting this! Although I was not born around this time period & I’ve only immigrated to the US in mid 1969, I did grow up & lived in NY Chinatown for most of my teenage years. I can vaguely remember the Port Arthur Restaurant, although not the Eastern Importing Company. Here’s one picture when the Chinatown Fair replaced the Eastern Importing Co.(not sure if the image address will post up as an image on this blog)

  2. 2 Michael said at 1:17 am on March 30th, 2016:

    This was the first Chinese restaurant I ever went to in 1948 when I was 5 years old. My parents would take me here just about every week, for years and years – what a great place it was!

  3. 3 Edie Hintz said at 8:41 am on July 21st, 2018:

    I have a Postcard of the dinning area.
    Probably from the early 50’s.
    Would anyone be interested?

  4. 4 Edie Hintz said at 8:44 am on July 21st, 2018:


  5. 5 Bill Buchanan said at 6:56 am on February 1st, 2019:

    I was ther on our high school senior trip. I have a menu and matchbook from there.

  6. 6 Paul French said at 6:59 am on February 1st, 2019:

    I like a high school that encourages you to collect matches!

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