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Once Upon a Time in Lubbock – The Ming Tree Restaurant

In this installment of Once Upon a Time in Lubbock, we look back at the Ming Tree Restaurant, one of Lubbock’s first Chinese restaurants.

Credit: Texas Tech Southwest Collection
Credit: Texas Tech Southwest Collection

It was opened in 1951 by Ted Quan, a Chinese immigrant who had made his way to Lubbock via San Francisco and Albuquerque. I am not 100 percent certain of the original location (see the black and white photo above), but, if I had to guess, I would say downtown. In 1958, it moved to 19th and Quaker, where Lubbock Imaging Center sits now.

Credit: Google Maps
Credit: Google Maps

What made this place special, was more than just the food. And don’t get me wrong, I remember the food and you can’t get anything like it today, but it was the love that Ted Quan put into the place.

In addition, Mr. Quan was a magician and would regularly perform at the Ming Tree. Mr. Quan also had several local magicians who would also perform. You really got dinner and a show.

 

This was a treat growing up — a nice dinner and magic all in one place.

Mr. Quan retired in 1986 and passed away in 1999.

From Mr. Quan’s obituary in the Lubbock Avalanche-Journal:

He was born Nov. 14, 1913, in Canton, China. He married Kim Sen Mah in July 1937 in China. He moved to San Francisco in 1924, and he later moved to Albuquerque. He attended the University of New Mexico. In 1951, he moved to Lubbock, where he started the Ming Tree Restaurant. In 1958, he relocated the restaurant. He performed magic at the restaurant, and he was a member of the Texas Association of Magicians and International Brotherhood of Magicians. He retired in 1986. He was a member of the Lubbock Amateur Radio Club and Quarter Century Wireless Association.

Even though I was young, I still have fond memories of that grand place.

Do you remember the Ming Tree? If so, tell us about it in the comments section.

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