Won’s Coffee Shop

Won’s Coffee Shop, originally uploaded by Here in Van Nuys.

Won’s Coffee Shop is an old restaurant, most likely dating back to the 1950s.

In 1924, Congress passed a new immigration law that severely restricted the amount of Asians who could enter this country. By the 1950s, “Chinatown”, in any city, was a place full of old men. Not until 1965, as the Vietnam War raged, did the US amend its immigration law to allow Asians, in larger numbers, to enter this nation.

Won’s sign is a vestige of a time when “Chinese” was exotic and unknown to many white Americans. The words “coffee” and “American” are meant to reassure people that one could order a burger and a glass of milk as well as chop suey or egg foo yung.

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