Chinese Lantern Restaurant Fire of 1994

(Duluth News Tribune photo of Jan. 16, 1994, Chinese Lantern fire)

Back in the 1980s we lived in Silver Bay, and my parents used to make special trips down to Duluth just to go to this place. Now they drive up from the cities to visit and we’ll take them out to eat at many of the fine restaurants we have, and they’ll always comment about how great the Chinese Lantern was and how there’s nothing else like it. Even when my wife worked at the Duluth Athletic Club, before the flooding closed it, she would always hear comments like, “This place is great, but it’s no Chinese Lantern.”

So what was it about that place that people still lament its passing 20 years later?


Paul Lundgren

about 10 years ago

The only thing I really remember about the Chinese Lantern is sitting next to an autographed 8x10 of Marsh Nelson.

And, of course, I can never resist the opportunity to point out I still have a Chinese Lantern / Brass Phoenix T-shirt (which, as previously noted on PDD, I wore to the Kiss concert in 1990).

One more thing: We would be remiss if we didn't extend the R.I.P. to all the places that failed after the Chinese Lantern ...

R Bar: A Railway Pizzeria
Score Sports Bar & Grill
Duluth Athletic Club Bar & Grill
Champp's Americana
Blue Water Bar & Grill
Bella Vita Ristorante


about 10 years ago

Wasn't there a nightclub that was there sometime in the last few years? I remember driving by and seeing all the lights and no people.

Special K

about 10 years ago

Yeah, the DAC opened a club called 21 North that started out strong and fizzled out.  They sold it and it became the new Tap Room briefly, until some drunken revelers stuffed all the TP in the bathroom down at once and flooded the building, closing both businesses.


about 10 years ago

I still remember the Chinese Lantern best when it was on Superior Street before it moved into the Athletic Club. The carpet was red and plush. Going to the Chinese Lantern (both locations) was a special night out back when I was growing up.

Tony D.

about 10 years ago

That building on Superior Street was the second Palladio building. It is about to be torn down for the new Maurice's Corporate tower. Read about all the buildings that stood on that corner on


about 10 years ago

My only regret was that as a picky little kid, all I ever ate was shrimp fried rice and egg rolls. I wish I had tried some of their other dishes they were famous for back then. Also I had my first legal drink in a bar at the Brass Phoenix. It wasn't that impressive early on a Wednesday night.


about 10 years ago

As a picky little kid, I always loved the Chinese Lantern because they would make me Cherry Coke, even though they didn't carry it. 

Granted, it was just Maraschino cherry juice and regular coke. But for some reason it was special. 

That and the fountain.

Paul Lundgren

about 9 years ago

From the Asian Flavors documentary co-produced by the Minnesota Historical Society Press and Twin Cities Public Television.

Jeannie Peter

about 3 years ago

What do I do with this gift certificate?

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