BUTTE — The man affectionately known as Danny Wong knew how to make people feel special at the Pekin Noodle Parlor in Butte.
“If there could be a book written on hospitality, Danny Wong could have written it,” said Maria Pochervina, the director of the Butte Convention and Visitors Bureau.
Danny Wong, who was born Ding Kuen Tam in China before coming to the United States as a teenager, died this week at age 86.
He ran the iconic chop suey on South Main Street since the 1950s. Wong was known for treating people with respect, from Montana’s political elite to those who worked in the mines.
“I can always remember never running into him that he didn’t have a giant smile on his face. He always wanted to know how you were doing, how your family was doing, and you always left an interaction with him feeling like you were the most important person in the world,” said Lt. Gov. Mike Cooney.
Wong continued to work at the restaurant up until last year when his health began to decline.
“He always showed such compassion with the citizens of Butte; he truly loved Butte,” said long-time friend Kim Krueger.
Danny Wong’s dedication to the business has made the Pekin the oldest family-owned Chinese restaurant in the nation. It’s garnered national attention and made a significant impact on Butte’s economy.
“Danny held a special place in his heart, not just for the citizens of Butte, but here, because we could send people there and he kept that history alive,” said Pochervina.
Danny’s son Jerry Tam who has been running the restaurant said his father's immigration story is that of an American Dream.
Wong was proceeded in death by his wife, Sharon, and they raised five children together.