SAN DIEGO - The historic Pekin Cafe, one of San Diego’s longest-running family restaurants, is closing its doors after nearly 90 years in operation, ending a three-generation legacy in North Park.
The American-style Cantonese restaurant, run by the family of the late founder Leo Fong, will close permanently in March, allowing older family members to retire and their children to pursue careers outside the industry, San Diego Union-Tribune reported.
The restaurant is one of the city’s oldest, first founded in 1931 by Fong and his family, and before the openings of other longtime local eateries such as The Waterfront Bar (1933), Tobey’s 19th Hole Cafe (1934) and The Chicken Pie Shop (1938). The establishment — later renamed to Peking Restaurant — was founded at a time when Cantonese cuisine was considered exotic, predating the trendy pho and ramen spots that now dominate the neighborhood.
Over the past century, Peking seemed to etch a permanent mark on University Avenue — its theatrical Chinese-dynasty facade glowing neon red night after night while the neighborhood transformed around it. Its sign, originally meant to advertise a popular Cantonese dish, reads “Chop Suey,” which later became the unofficial name of the restaurant.