Ads from the Past: Port Arthur Cafe

Hennepin-Lake, History — By on January 16, 2013 7:18 am

Port Arthur Cafe was a landmark restaurant in Minneapolis, one of the most well-known Minneapolis Chinese restaurants according to the Star Tribune (3/20/1987), that was at Hennepin and Lake from 1932 until 1987. Started by Tom Foy in 1932, 55 years later he sold it to Fong Hing Kong and Poy Won Kong. The Kong’s operated it for 22 years and then opened a second location in a building they bought in New Hope. Due to difficulties in operating two locations, they opted to continue to operate their newer location in the real estate they owned.

Port Arthur Cafe’s Lake Street business was sold to Ham Chanh Nguyen, who re-opened it as Kimson Vietnamese Cuisine in 1987.

Port Arthur Cafe ad

A 1981 ad for Port Arthur Cafe in Uptown Minneapolis

The restaurant was located at 1427 West Lake Street, the building that today houses the American Apparel store. The ad is from 1981.

Thatcher Imboden

How cities work and change, how they are the product of their inhabitants and outside forces, and the resulting livability keep me thinking and dreaming about the future. I work in transit oriented development and have a background in urban real estate development. I am Past President of an Uptown business organization, grew up in Uptown, was on an Uptown neighborhood association Board, and am an Uptown and Lyn-Lake historian.

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  1. BH says:

    Love the name –Port Arthur was the Chinese port originally controlled by Russia (and later the USSR for a decade post-WWII). The name didn’t change until the 50s. Nice use of a Western name with strong ties to China. I wonder how he came up with it.

  2. Alan Freed says:

    I think Port Arthur may have been across the alley to the east of AA. I have tried locating a photo of it in the normal places (HCL, MHS, MSM @ MN Reflections, and this site, too) but am coming up empty. I did find an image showing the west side of the corner building of the era (Mr. Fashion, et al) and a small adjoining building next to the alley but there’s little detail. Since the restaurant was destroyed by fire, the possibility exists of it being razed.

  3. Jim Lyons says:

    Port Arthur was on the Even/South side of Lake Street, just West of Hennepin and just before the alley. Can’t remember what sits there today, but that’s where Port Arthur was.

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