You can buy a screwdriver with your Chinese food
There's a place I've been going to for years called Pekin Chinese Restaurant (it's Pekin, not Peking). It's right outside the Grove at 2293 SW 17 Avenue, sort of between US1 and Coral Way. It's in a non-descript building that you probably pass often. I realized as I was doing this story that I didn't take any pictures of the food, but this story is about the place, not the food. The food is excellent and they have a large and loyal clientele, but the place is not what you would expect. You can go in and eat or you can order by phone or online and they'll deliver or you can pick up. Their website is pekinchinese.com.
What I love about the place is that it's not just a restaurant, but it's a Chinese grocery store, too, but it sort of stopped in time. It reminds me of those old grocery stores I would go to in Brooklyn near my grandmothers' houses when I was a child. You just know there are things in the store that have not been touched for years. Many years. You can buy a screwdriver and right next to it is Betty Crocker cake mix.
There are things in the store/restaurant that have not been dusted or moved for years. But that is part of the charm, for me, anyway. Whatever you need in the way of Chinese food, it's there - from actual food to things like ginsing and tea. There is one whole aisle of tea. There is one aisle with tons of soy sauce and hot sauce choices. There is one aisle with screwdrivers which hang next to computer plugs.
There is Good Humor ice cream in a cooler and in another Good Humor cooler, you'll find frozen seafood. There are ceramic tea cup services next to potato chips. There are Nabisco chocolate chip cookies next to Chinese-style cup-a-soups, next to boxed dolls and paintings. There is wine. There is a waiting area, where you can play the lottery and watch tv, while waiting for your order and in the back, there is a sort of restaurant area that has seen better days. That's where the Chinese food is served. I've only gotten take-out there and I wonder if it would have an "A" rating in cities like New York that have ratings.
But I like the place. And even if you aren't into getting the Chinese food, it's worth a visit. It will remind you of those old places from so many years ago that had something for everyone. Sort of like the old Kress 5 and 10 in the Grove (that use to be where Jaguar restaurant is now).
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