Chin Wing

Written By: nppladmin - Jan• 13•22
Originally posted to Facebook on September 3, 2021.

Welcome back! Ready for some more North Platte History? Then read on!

In 1920, Chin Wing, an American born man moved from California to North Platte. Chin started working as a cook in the King Fong Café. His cooking skills made the restaurant a place where people knew to go to for a good meal.

The first news about the Wing family occurred on April 27, 1929. The newspaper announced that Chin Wing and his wife Lee showed their loyalty to North Platte by naming one of his boys, “North” Wing and another son, “Platte” Wing. The paper wondered if other children would be named Lincoln, County and maybe Nebraska. Chin didn’t disappoint, he named a son, born in 1935, “Lincoln”.

Chin (1888-1962) and Lilllie “Lee” (1907-1963) had 10 children in total:

  1. Lucy “Rosie” Wing (1924-2011)
  2. North Chin Wing (1926-2013)
  3. Platte Chin Wing (1928-2013)
  4. Lily Wing (1931-whereabouts unknown)
  5. Mary Wing (born 1934-whereabouts unknown)
  6. Lincoln Wing (born 1936-2013)
  7. Patty Wing (1937-1991)
  8. Jean Wing (born 1940- whereabouts unknown)
  9. Charles Wing (born 1943-2012)
  10. George Wing (1945-

On October 14, 1932, the Evening Telegraph announced the opening of a new restaurant. Wing had leased the building at 116 West Front Street (formerly the Blue Goose restaurant) and opened up a new restaurant, The North Platte Café. The announcement in the paper it said you could get any item on their menu and pay once cent and get another of the same item FREE! <See advertisement>

Wing stayed at that location until 1938. The North Platte Daily Bulletin announced on May 4, 1938 that the North Platte Café was opening at their new location in the Brodbeck Building at 105 East 5th Street. The new dining room could seat 160 people. The café has air-conditioning, lavatories telephone booths and many new modern convinces according to the paper.

On November 4, 1941 the North Platte Café was almost a scene of a murder! <See headline article on the trial in the post attachments>

The newspaper story read: A cook at the North Platte Café, named Frank Fong was being harassed by an American-born German named Eric Brunkow, a bartender at the Ritz Bar. Brunkow started an argument with Fong by teasing him and then said, “It will be different when Hitler gets hold of you.” Fong stood up and hit Brunkow and knocked him to the floor. When Brunkow got up the fight was on. A waitress separated the two and ordered Brunkow to leave. After he left, Fong went to his room behind the kitchen and got his gun.

Meanwhile Brunkow went to the Glendale Rooms on the second floor of the restaurant and that’s where Fong went to confront him with the gun. When Fong found Brunkow he shot four times, hitting Brunkow twice, killing him. Fong was found not guilty because of insanity and sent to the hospital in Hastings.

On November 18, 1949 Chin Wing opened a new restaurant on the corner of Front and Pine (now Bailey) Streets. Right across the street from the Union Pacific Depot. It was a new building and much more space for his growing business.

Chin’s son, Platte Wing, started working for his father in the restaurant and became manager by 1960. Chin passed away on August 12, 1962 and passed the restaurant onto Platte Wing, who became sole owner. Platte followed closely in his father’s footsteps and kept the tradition of serving excellent meals at reasonable prices.

That tradition, garnered the North Platte Café national attention when a writer and a television reporter from San Francisco wrote a review of the restaurant in the Saturday Review magazine. The men had stopped and got off the I-80 and ate at the restaurant and went back three different times as they were traveling the country. Their first stop there was so good that they knew they had found something special.

Even though they never got to meet Platte Wing and his wife Margaret, they had talked to them over the phone many times. They quoted that, “Each subsequent stop at the café has lived up to the fantasies of memory.” At the same time the article came out in the Saturday Review, the Wings’ got the letter in the mail they had been anticipating. <see picture of Platte and Marge with their family in the post photographs>

The Urban Renewal Authority said they wanted to discuss their plan for rejuvenating downtown North Platte. The block where the North Platte Café was located was part of the urban renewal process and as such, all buildings were to be demolished.

By 1975 the North Platte Café was no longer listed in the City Directory, ending what just might have been the best restaurant ever in North Platte!

If you remember the North Platte Café or ate at it, please share your memories in the comments below. Thank you for reading!

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