It was 25 years ago today — January 16, 1994 — when Duluth’s iconic Chinese Lantern restaurant was destroyed by fire. The video clip above is from the Asian Flavors documentary co-produced by the Minnesota Historical Society Press and Twin Cities Public Television in 2013. The full 28-minute documentary is below.
(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?