Upstairs noodle parlors were common in urban Chinese communities, and the Pekin’s central stair and neon sign has long beckoned both Asian and Euro-American customers. Close proximity to Butte’s once-teeming red light district has long fueled local legends about the Pekin. Online reviews of the restaurant unfortunately label it a former brothel because of its seventeen curtained booths. However, these booths were a fixture in Asian restaurants across the West and simply offered diners privacy. Hum Yow’s Chinese Goods and Silks and G. P. Meinhart’s sign painting business originally occupied the two storefronts. A gambling casino operated in the basement from the 1910s to the 1950s. It was a business and family home and never housed prostitution.
|For more than a century, the curtained booths in the Pekin Noodle Parlor |
have provided private dining and nothing more.
|Butte's Pekin Noodle Parlor is Montana's oldest Chinese restaurant still operated by the same family.|
(1979 HABS/HAER photo by Jet Lowe, Library of Congress.)