With Chop Suey and Loyal Fans, a Montana Kitchen Keeps the Flame Burning

Pekin Noodle Parlor, one of the nation’s oldest Chinese restaurants, says goodbye to its longtime owner but holds tight to its colorful past and city.

Credit…Louise Johns for The New York Times

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By Brett Anderson

Photographs by Louise Johns

BUTTE, Mont. — Danny Wong had a system for catching thieves.

The longtime owner and face of Pekin Noodle Parlor, the oldest family-owned, continuously operating Chinese restaurant in the United States, ordered servers to lock the front door at the sound of fast footsteps rattling the floorboards. Diners trying to flee the second-story dining room without paying would turn back up the steep stairs in search of another route, only to find Mr. Wong standing there, holding a bayonet and offering a choice: Pay your bill or wash dishes.

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