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The Honolulu Advertiser
Posted on: Monday, March 8, 2010

Patti's Chinese Kitchen may revive

By David Shapiro

The nice thing about sharing stories is the great ones you get back, and I heard from a lot of folks about their memories of Patti's Chinese Kitchen after I wrote my own upon learning that the landmark eatery was closing its last location at Pearlridge on Feb. 28.

Most touching was an e-mail from Cathy Chun, a daughter of Calvin Chun, who founded the first Patti's at Ala Moana Center in 1967:

"It was not our choice to leave the Pearlridge mall," she said. "Our lease was up and they decided to put Panda Express in our place. We were a bit shocked, but accepted it.

"Patti's son wants to take over the business, and is actively looking for another location to continue the tradition. We will let you know when we find a location that fits all of our needs.

"We have had many loyal customers as yourself come down and share their stories and sadness of our closing. It is so heartwarming to hear them all. We so appreciate all of the loyal customers over the years.

"As you mentioned Lyn's Deli, did you know that Calvin owned that also? There are 4 girls in the family and he named a restaurant after all of us. My namesake was outside of the Holiday Mart in town. He had the whole strip of the Chinese food out there, that was his first place, along with the crack seeds in the store.

"He also had Charlene's deli downtown on Merchant St. My father was a true entrepreneur who loved to open restaurants. He also opened Bella Italia and some other places. He is still alive, he is 95 years old. He was recently inducted into the Hawaii Restaurant Association's Hall of Fame. That was nice."

I had forgotten that the Chuns also owned Lyn's Deli at Ala Moana, which in the early 1970s was a regular Friday lunch stop for Capitol reporters after we deposited our paychecks at the Ala Moana Bank of Hawaii.

Believe me, I've eaten at a lot of delis, and Lyn's was the only one I've ever known that offered a hot pastrami sandwich slathered with cream cheese. It sounded gross at first, but it was actually quite delicious.

I nearly got busted by the kosher police when I tried to order sandwiches that way from the Stage Deli in New York and Canter's in L.A. Not to mention the lecture from my dad about how he taught me better.