The owner of the oldest family-run Chinese restaurant in America, Pekin Noodle Bar in Butte, Montana, died on Monday, Independent Record reports. Ding Kuen Tam, known to the community as Danny Wong, passed away at 86.
Wong was born in Guangzhou, China on October 12, 1934. His family fled to America when he was 14 during the Japanese invasion of China before World War II, according to Independent Record.
Wong worked in Sacramento for a few years before returning to Butte to work at Pekin Noodle Bar, according to KXLF. The chop suey restaurant has been in the Wong family for generations. Wong’s great grandfather sold him the restaurant in the 1950s and he has been the owner ever since.
The restaurant was a popular destination in Butte. Politicians, tourists and miners working in the area all dined at Peking Noodle Parlor. His employees say Wong was friendly to everyone. He would often spend a long time speaking to customers about their lives.
“He was the kindest man that anybody ever knew,” said Wong’s son, Jerry Tam told Independent Record. “His kindness stemmed from having a restaurant that served the mouths of the community. Anybody that wanted a meal, he would offer it to them, whether you had a penny or a dollar. He would make sure you didn’t walk away hungry.”
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