China Lantern, Beaverton, 1957

Today we travel out to Beaverton and the China Lantern Restaurant in 1957. The China Lantern was apparently a front for a gambling den as a part of the Portland crime syndicate run by Jim Elkins. This LIFE photo is part of a photo investigation on organized crime and corruption in Portland by the magazine. The restaurant was at 10345 SW Canyon Road.

(LIFE)

12 thoughts on “China Lantern, Beaverton, 1957

  1. In the early 60s, when Canyon Road was still the highway connection between the Tualitin Valley and Portland, the China Lantern was a popular stop for my group of friends who were all students at Pacific University. White-coated waiters and other gentleman of Asian extraction would gather in the last booth on the right and carry on long animated conversations in a foreign language. We knew nothing of a gambling den having been on the site. I liked their Chinese pork.

  2. That is one of the most inadvertently disturbing depictions of a pointing human hand that I have ever seen.

  3. Our family ate here often in the late 50s and early 60s. I was six years old on my first visit. I loved their sweet and sour pork and their fried shrimp. I remember the waitress woudl always give me a piece of “Double Bubble” gum on our way out. She was short and very outgoing and would always wait on our table. We would try to arrive before dinner rush hour and Dad would always park the car between the two posts holding up the sign in the photo above. I was told after the business closed it was opened agin under the same name in NW Portland. Many great memories. But never, ever did we see or hear of any illegal things happeing at the eatery. My parents toed the mark and would never visit a place that had a shady reputation. I think few peoiple knew the crime connection because once rush hour started there was always a long line of middle class Beaverton famililes with children trying to get a seat.

  4. Like others, as a family we visited the China Lantern on a regular basis. Our father owned a commercial laundry and we services the restaurant and traded services with them. It was one of the first Chinese restaurants on the west side. Always greeted by a very short woman who had more opals and jade adorning than imaginable, the staff was friendly, courteous and the food was delicious. Yes, they did give all the kids double bubble gum on leaving, to which all mothers could be heard to say, “Don’t chew it until we get home, I am not having you get it all over the car.” If there was a shady side to the people operating the establishment, it must have happened off the premise because there was no room for anything to happen they but cooking and eating.

  5. Growing up in Beaverton, The China Lantern was a favorite place to eat. I have not ever had anything to compare with the goodness of the pork noodles and fried rice that I ate there. I have searched fruitlessly for food that even came close but no, no one else comes close I’m sorry to say.

  6. Was this the same restaurant owned by the Chung family? We were friends with them and they were the nicest people around.

  7. I am staying at a place on the coast and found a glass from the China Lantern Lounge- out Canyon Road in the cupboard. I am about 3 hours from home and found this to be a crazy coincidence- so much so that I bought another glass to replace it so I can take this one home. I am just trading it. There is no way this could mean something to someone else, right? Every Sunday my Dad would get us Chinese dinner here. I always got to have a Shirley Temple if I went with him. I remember the Egg Foo Young was my favorite. It was a wonderful family memory and

  8. I found a juice glass at a thrift shop today and purchased Just because it was cool. Was doing some research on it because all it said on the glass is the Chinese Lantern lounge on old Canyon road being from Virginia I had no idea where it could be and found The article in life which directed me to this Chat Room

  9. My family would drive from St. John’s to the China Lantern on special occasions. We would order the Uncle Walt special. They served it family style. It was wonderful!

  10. The China Lantern had the best Chinese food I’ve ever eaten. No place has ever even come close. And it’s been many years since they closed and I’ve traveled many places, but I’ve never found anything to compare. Whether they were gangsters or not, the kitchen was fantastic!

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