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Best of 2000: Best Old-Style Chinese Eatery

Pekin Restaurant
2877 University Avenue,
North Park
(619) 295-2610

You know it's old from the way they spell the name. "Pekin," not "Beijing." Not even "Peking." North Parkians probably don't even notice it, it's been here so long. But if you come after dark, the big red "Chop Suey" sign and the wooden lattice-work and the green tile Chinese roof and the red columns all speak 1930s loud and clear. Jennifer, at the counter, says her grandfather came from Canton at the age of 27 and set up business on this spot in 1931. He's still here, 96 years old. "Only changes came after a fire in 1945," says her Auntie Anna. "Before that we had private cubicles, old Chinese style." Even minus the private cubicles, you feel like you're in a colorized 1930 film-noir. The circle-glass swing doors, the rows of big-cushioned red booths, the mother-of-pearl pictures of misty Ming palaces, the hanging lanterns with translucent pictures of songbirds, the five-foot fans on the walls, the shouts in Chinese from the kitchen: it feels like old China. And so much less antiseptic than many newer Chinese restaurants. Auntie Anna even uses an old-fashioned cart to roll meals up to the customers on her aisle. "It worked for grandfather," she says. "Why change?"

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Pekin Restaurant
2877 University Avenue,
North Park
(619) 295-2610

You know it's old from the way they spell the name. "Pekin," not "Beijing." Not even "Peking." North Parkians probably don't even notice it, it's been here so long. But if you come after dark, the big red "Chop Suey" sign and the wooden lattice-work and the green tile Chinese roof and the red columns all speak 1930s loud and clear. Jennifer, at the counter, says her grandfather came from Canton at the age of 27 and set up business on this spot in 1931. He's still here, 96 years old. "Only changes came after a fire in 1945," says her Auntie Anna. "Before that we had private cubicles, old Chinese style." Even minus the private cubicles, you feel like you're in a colorized 1930 film-noir. The circle-glass swing doors, the rows of big-cushioned red booths, the mother-of-pearl pictures of misty Ming palaces, the hanging lanterns with translucent pictures of songbirds, the five-foot fans on the walls, the shouts in Chinese from the kitchen: it feels like old China. And so much less antiseptic than many newer Chinese restaurants. Auntie Anna even uses an old-fashioned cart to roll meals up to the customers on her aisle. "It worked for grandfather," she says. "Why change?"

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4S Ranch Allied Gardens Alpine Baja Balboa Park Bankers Hill Barrio Logan Bay Ho Bay Park Black Mountain Ranch Blossom Valley Bonita Bonsall Borrego Springs Boulevard Campo Cardiff-by-the-Sea Carlsbad Carmel Mountain Carmel Valley Chollas View Chula Vista City College City Heights Clairemont College Area Coronado CSU San Marcos Cuyamaca College Del Cerro Del Mar Descanso Downtown San Diego Eastlake East Village El Cajon Emerald Hills Encanto Encinitas Escondido Fallbrook Fletcher Hills Golden Hill Grant Hill Grantville Grossmont College Guatay Harbor Island Hillcrest Imperial Beach Imperial Valley Jacumba Jamacha-Lomita Jamul Julian Kearny Mesa Kensington La Jolla Lakeside La Mesa Lemon Grove Leucadia Liberty Station Lincoln Acres Lincoln Park Linda Vista Little Italy Logan Heights Mesa College Midway District MiraCosta College Miramar Miramar College Mira Mesa Mission Beach Mission Hills Mission Valley Mountain View Mount Hope Mount Laguna National City Nestor Normal Heights North Park Oak Park Ocean Beach Oceanside Old Town Otay Mesa Pacific Beach Pala Palomar College Palomar Mountain Paradise Hills Pauma Valley Pine Valley Point Loma Point Loma Nazarene Potrero Poway Rainbow Ramona Rancho Bernardo Rancho Penasquitos Rancho San Diego Rancho Santa Fe Rolando San Carlos San Marcos San Onofre Santa Ysabel Santee San Ysidro Scripps Ranch SDSU Serra Mesa Shelltown Shelter Island Sherman Heights Skyline Solana Beach Sorrento Valley Southcrest South Park Southwestern College Spring Valley Stockton Talmadge Temecula Tierrasanta Tijuana UCSD University City University Heights USD Valencia Park Valley Center Vista Warner Springs
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