A plaque remaining from the Big Apple Night Club at West 135th Street and Seventh Avenue in Harlem.

Above, a 1934 plaque from the Big Apple Night Club at West 135th Street and Seventh Avenue in Harlem. Discarded as trash in 2006. Now a Popeyes fast food restaurant on Google Maps.

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Entry from September 11, 2015
Chowmeinerie or Chowmeinery (a Chinese restaurant)

Chinese restaurants serving chow mein used to crowd Broadway around Times Square. “Chowmeinerie” was cited in G. D. Seymour’s New York City newspaper column in January 1929. “Chinese-American chow meinery on Broadway” was cited in Neal O’Hara’s New York City column in September 1929. “Chow-meinery” was cited in Gilbert Swan’s New York City newspaper column in November 1930.
Chow mein lost its popularity as a Chinese-American dish and the term “chowmeinerie”/“chowmeinery”/“chow meinery” became rare by 1970.
8 January 1929, Winston-Salem (NC) Journal, “A New Yorker at Large” by G. D. Seymour, pg. 4, col. 5:
At every restaurant and chowmeinerie the doorman is explaining to arrivals that all the tables are taken.
23 September 1929, The Evening Tribune (San Diego, CA), “Telling the World” by Neal O’Hara (New York Evening World), pg. 4, cols. 7-8:
Instead of beckoning the head waiter to his booth, he would put in a telephone call to his favorite Chinese-American chow meinery on Broadway and tell them to send over a boy with a bowl of it on the next Dollar line steamer.
2 November 1930, Sunday Avalanche-Journal (Lubbock, TX), “In New York with Swan” by Gilbert Swan, pg. 20, col. 3:
NEW YORK, Nov. 1—A couple of years ago, when Chinese restaurants began to overun Broadway, I facetiously christened that thoroughfare “Chow Mein Street.”
This chow-meinery, appearing under the familiar name of Chin and Lee, turn it out by the ton.
13 April 1941, Boston (MA) Herald, “Let’s Grab a Bite” by Silas Bent, This Week magazine, pg. 6, col. 5:
Frankfurters and hamburgers combined, however, are not the end-all of the quick lunch by any means. New York has had its spaghetteria, and Los Angeles its chowmeinery.
Old Fulton NY Post Cards
1 September 1943, Long Island Star-Journal (Long Island City, NY), “About People” by Joe Fabian, pg. 4, col. 3:
SIGHTS & SOUNDS: (...) The Chinese waiter in the Steinway street chowmeinerie who talks a fast Yiddish with a Cantonese inflection.
28 August 1955, Boston (MA) Sunday Advertiser, “N. Y Confidential” by Lee Mortimer, pg. 24, col. 1:
Talking of coins, another carriage trade chowmeinerie is Bill Chan’s Gold Coin in Second ave.
Google Books
Singers’ Glossary of Show Business Jargon
BY Al Berkman
Los Angeles, CA: Melrose
Pg. 13:
CHOWMEINERY: (Var.) Chinese restaurant; oriental night club.
Google Books
The Routledge Dictionary of Modern American Slang and Unconventional English
By Tom Dalzell
New York, NY: Routledge
Pg. 199:
chowmeinery noun
in circus or carnival usage, a Chinese restaurant US, 1981

Posted by Barry Popik
New York CityRestaurants/Bars/Coffeehouses/Food Stores • Friday, September 11, 2015 • Permalink

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