The Chatham is back! Today, January 14th 2011, should go down in the history of Chinatown as a Day of Resurrection, the Second Coming of the Chatham. How often does something like this happen? I had passed by the shuttered facade of the Chatham a number of times in the past few months and looked in sadly, yearning for another cha shew bao and a coffee with light cream. I wondered about all the people who had worked there and the many people who hung out there. One of the signs in Chinese in the window talked about a "renovation". But with all the news about rising rents and stores going out of business, it seemed unlikely that a restaurant with simple, affordable food serving mainly to locals in Chinatown had much of a chance. Especially with the closing of the OTB parlor right next door which provided a lot of customers.
However, it is true. The Chatham has been renovated, really just spruced up a bit: the tables in the front removed, a new counter, more tables in the back. Many of the staff are still there, too. A customers told me that the former owner who was in this eighties retired and the workers bought the restaurant from him.
The char shew bao (roast pork buns) are the best. No place in any of New York's many Chinatowns offers a more freshly baked version. Dim sum are served from carts every day at lunch. The food is very reasonably priced. And where can you still get good old school Cantonese food? The atmosphere is also very warm and neighborly.
Go soon and celebrate the Year of the Rabbit. Best wishes to all the staff of the Chatham. Best Wishes for a prosperous future for the Chatham Restaurant.
9 Chatham Square, New York, NY 10038
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