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Canton Casino, Jersey City, NJ (restaurant)

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Name:Canton Casino
Street:920 Bergen Ave.
City:Jersey City

I hate when things like this happen. Today I found out that Canton Casino, one of the coolest, oldest restaurants in this area has sadly closed. I was in Jersey City today to attend some screenings of some classic movies at the very historic Loews Jersey movie theater, which was amazing in itself (I'll post more about that in 'Bilge'). Part of my plan was to go to Canton Casino before the movies, but when I got there I found that it was closed...for good. From what little info I can get about this place on-line, it looks like it closed in November of 2004. So in tribute here is my original posting on Canton Casino from almost two years ago that I posted in the TC "Main Discussion Area" (I guess that was before 'Locating Tiki' was an option) Yeah..this sucks, a really amazing place. I'm glad I got to go there more than once. so here's what I said originally:

Donhonyc here checking in once again with a report on one of the few NYC area tiki joints. First thanks to JT for the Tiki Road Trip book. An excellent and fun guide! I would have never have known about Canton Casino without it.

Now here's the scoop....Canton Casino is not necessarily a Tiki establishment, in fact it rates 0 on the 'TiPSY' factor. However, it is a very cool...well 'cool' doesn't do it justice. This place is a work of art in a very poetic, dare I say moving way. I was that impressed by it. The short description is that when you walk into Canton Casino it's like walking onto the set of an old movie, a Charlie Chan type movie to be more precise. This place has been on Bergen Ave in Jersey City since the 1930s and it looks that way. Gorgeous and not the slightest bit run down at all. Canton Casino is located in an old commercial building... In order to get to the restaurant you have to walk up a flight of marble stairs in a RED corridor. Once you enter you find yourself inside a very large, ornate Chinese dining room (three tiered as indicated in Tiki Road Trip) with red leather booths, ornate hand painted pillars (the paintings are vases with flowers), and tables sensitively lit with small lamps. The main, centered area of the dining room sits under an oval overhang. There is also a bar that has no bar stools but probably did at some point. There is also a small gallery of photos on one of the walls with photos from the movie that was shot there-'To Wong Foo, thanks for everything...' with Patrick Swayze and John Leguizamo, and a photo of a 'Testimonial Dinner' that was held there in 1948!!!! Awesome!!

On this particular expedition I went alone. My girfriend was not up to it (coughhungovercough) and my friends think I'm nuts. I ordered a Zombie which was EXCELLENT, and a regular chinese dish (General Tso's Chicken). The Zombie was amazing and particularly potent! Really good. I was pretty plowed before I even finished the damn thing, and because of that I ordered another. Wow! A really great experience and recommended to anybody in the NYC area, and any visiting the NYC area for that matter. It's very easy to get to. Just take the PATH train to Journal Square and walk a block south and your there! Unfortunately the place was not that busy. There are at least 50 tables in the place and about 6 of them were taken. I was thinking A) maybe I missed rush hour or B) this place was probably paid for years ago by the owners/family/ whoever, and don't have to worry about a slow night. And..Oh yeah, they do have a souvenir counter (also indicated in Tiki Road Trip) with a variety of Tiki mugs, Buddah Mugs, Dragon glasses and MORe! I bought two chimney style dragon glasses (for Zombies) for $2.50 a piece! And a Scorpion Bowl for $8.00. I'm not surprised at all that the producers of the 'Wong Foo' movie wanted to use this place. It's that cool! I'll be there again with girlfriend and friends. They don't make places like this anymore.....but they should!!! Hopefully it will hang around for a while for all TC'ers to get to.

[ Edited by: donhonyc on 2005-04-02 22:21 ]

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