How many knew the oldest Chinese restaurant is right here in Montana?
I know I did not.
If you were to ask random strangers on the street, "Where is the oldest Chinese restaurant in America" most would say "San Francisco" or "New York." The correct answer is none other than Butte, Montana.
The Pekin Noodle Parlor has been continuously serving residents of Butte since 1911. For one hundred- and eleven-years people from all social classes, from regular joes to politicians have been coming to enjoy their food.
Butte has a long history when it comes to the Chinese. The largest population of Chinese immigrants in Montana settled in Butte. Plenty of reasons brought them to the Treasure State. The Trans-Continental Railroad as we learned about in school was built by immigrant laborers, the Chinese among them. Many of those laborers stayed in Montana once construction was completed.
The Gold Rush was another reason Montana saw an influx of Chinese immigrants. Sadly, due to Anti-Chinese sentiment at the time, they were not allowed to stake claims. So other means of income were needed. That is how the Pekin Noodle Parlor came into existence.
It is still run by the same family who started it all those years back. Just last year there was a celebration to acknowledge the long history of the restaurant in Montana. They renamed the alley behind the restaurant "Danny Wong Way". Danny Wong bought the restaurant in the 1950's and it is now being run by his son.
So the next time you are in Butte, we suggest you stop by the Pekin Noodle Parlor and experience a bit of Montanan history. Plus, you will also be able to say that you have eaten at the oldest continuously operating Chinese restaurant in the United States.