Location: 110 Capitol Way N
Diversity: Chinese heritage; National Downtown Historic District
Pekin Cafe, 1914, photo by Robert Esterly, courtesy of Washington State Historical Society
Site of Pekin Cafe today (2012), photo by Deb Ross
Chinese cooks were present in Olympia from very early days. Often they were staff at private residences (the chef at Peterfield Turpin‘s home was particularly celebrated), or in hotels and restaurants. In the 1890s, for example, Toone James operated the historic Gold Bar Restaurant.
In the early twentieth century, restaurants owned by Chinese began to appear. The Pekin Cafe, owned by Lock Hoy, was located just north of the Chambers Block and would have been frequented by workers in the port area as well as downtown business owners and their staff. According to historian Ed Echtle, the menu featured not only Chinese but also “American” style food. Lock Hoy later ran the Shanghai Cafe on 5th Avenue. The site is located in the National Downtown Historic District, but is now a parking lot.
Echtle, Chinese in Olympia: Restaurants
Washington State Historical Society photographs (enter the following catalog numbers in Collections Search box), 2010.149.40.2