Ah November-December, the year’s end approaches and dining-out at festive gatherings abounds! Why not step away from the customary turkey or ham that will no doubt be proffered you this holiday, and get a little adventurous! There still exists a few Charlie Chan establishments in operation! Here are those I could find open and some “of note” that have gone their way to the disappointment of loyal feasters. With around 41,000 Chinese restaurants in the U.S. alone (Chinese Restaurant News), I only pursued those with the name “Charlie Chan,” and not those simply called “Chan,” “Chans,” or variances. As they say in China “Qǐng nín yòngcān” (Enjoy your meal!)
OPEN FOR BUSINESS:
Charlie Chan’s, Brockton, Massachusetts: https://www.charliechansma.com/. 1270 Main St, Brockton, MA 02301. It is only befitting there be a Charlie Chan’s near Boston, where Chan creator author Earl Derr Bigger’s first worked (and was fired) as a columnist on the Boston Traveler newspaper before setting off to write his first novel! A 4.0 rating on google, I counted at least 131 entrees on the menu (not including soups, appetizers, house or special combos!) Order online, take out, and delivery…Let’s go!
Charlie Chan, Ontario, Canada: http://www.charliechan.ca/. 3615 Innes Rd, Orléans, ON K1C 1T1, Canada. A 3.4 google rating, a trip up north to Louise Penny’s Inspector Armand Gamache’s neck-of-the-woods seems fun! This location also has quite an enormous selection, too many to count. Their website pages feature a caricature drawing of actor Sidney Toler as Charlie Chan holding a magnifying glass–is that awesome, or what!
Charlie Chans Bar, Sydney Australia: http://charliechans.com.au/. 631-635 George St, Sydney NSW 2000, Austalia. Don’t let the name fool you, this is way more than a bar! A 4.1 google review (314 reviews), located in the heart of Sydney’s Chinatown business district they have several rooms including, the bar, restaurant, plush lounge (w/pool table), and a bottle shop (liquor store.) And the lounge area can be reserved to help you “celebrate, commiserate or seal the deal” for your event. The food looks delicious (Thai cusine), and while I counted 9 beer on their tap the drink of choice has got to be…their Flaming Charlie!
Charlie Chan, Thurso, Scotland: https://www.facebook.com/Charlie-chan-chinese-takeaway-377937769694320/?rf=183135178482252. 2 Sinclair St, Thurso KW14 7AJ, Highland, Scotland. A 4.4 google rating with 84 reviews (hey, this is Scotland). So if you take the “High Road”, you’ll surely come across this fine establishment nestled between old stone buildings on Sinclair St. Yes, you can get a fine Scotch Whiskey or Scottish Ale with the meal, but let me ask, “have they got ice tea?”
Charlie Chan Chinese Restaurant, Newport News, Virginia: https://www.yelp.com/biz/charlie-chan-chinese-restaurant-newport-news. Sorry no website and no facebook. They rate a 4.3 on Google (but only 17 reviews) and only 2 stars on Yelp (with a whopping 5 reviews). This looks to be a fast food establishment off the shores of the James River. Still, it honors the name of our detective nicely.
GONE BUT NOT FORGOTTEN:
Charlie Chan’s, Dayton, Ohio mall: http://forums.roadfood.com/Anyone-remember-Charlie-Chan39s-in-the-Dayton-Mall-m410476.aspx. Founded in 1975, Charlie Chan`s Restaurants Inc., a 43-outlet chain based in Youngstown, Ohio, closed it’s doors 1983 and filed for protection from creditors under federal bankruptcy laws (they were spread across malls in the Midwest.) According to Fast Food: Roadside Restaurants in the Automobile Age (1999) by Authors John A. Jackle & Keith A. Sculle, General Mills bought them out (as well as San Antonio, TX based “Quik Wok”) for a company based experiment with various restaurant foods. Visit the above forum, (at Roadfood.com) and you’ll find pretty much everyone misses their “Chicken-on-a-stick” over a bed of fried rice. Now, this may seem strange (if not, you might reevaluate your thinking), but there is a model of a “Charlie Chan’s” that was in a shopping mall in Overland, Kansas! It’s in the Overland Park Historical Society. But, don’t just take my word for it! Here’s a Youtube video to prove it: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wBTIR0R8C94. Dang, now I’m hungry for some chicken-on-a-stick!
Charlie Chan Lounge-Restaurant, Cambridge, United Kingdom: http://www.charliechanuk.com/. 14 Regent St, Cambridge CB2 1DB, UK. This Cambridge-staple closed it’s doors July 2018 after 36 years serving hungry locals and visitors. One of the oldest restaurants in Cambridge, they shared a passion for “authentic, home-cooked” Chinese food. Previous to these last successful 36 years, the restaurant was named The Pagoda Chinese Restaurant (1966 to 1982.) Then, in 1982 London restaurateur, Peter Lee, took over The Pagoda and renamed it after his new Head Chef and founding partner…Charlie Chan. You gotta love it!
Chan’s Fine Oriental Dining, Jazz & Blues (OK I cheated. Just this once though!): http://www.chanseggrollsandjazz.com/index.html. 267 Main St, Woonsocket, RI 02895. I admit it! I’ve veered off the path with the name thing, but this was too good not to mention. This place has been around since 1905, first as the New Shanghai Restaurant until current owner John Chan’s father, Ben F. Chan, took it over in 1965. In 1986, John redoubled the size and added jazz, blues, folk, cabaret, and comedy performances. Not only do they specialize in the 4 schools of Chinese cooking: Cantonese, Szechwan-Hunan, Mandarin and Shanghai, their Jazz & Blues supper-club is nationally recognized! Some of the artists, who’ve performed at Chan’s, include: Dizzy Gilespie, Scott Hamilton, John Hammond, Leon Redbone, Duke Robillard, Ana Popovich, and Dan Moretti (See BMA’s 2016 BB King Entertainer and 2019 Grammy nominated, Victor Wainright, “The King of Boogie Woogie” perform, November 21st!) Owner John Chan has too many accomplishments to list (like induction into the RI Music Hall of Fame), but you can read about this amazing entrepreneur in Providence College Magazine, Spring 2019,”The Most Interesting Chan in the World!”