Low Moon Restaurant

by Charles McGrath


As Jule Spohn has indicated, Newark had many Chinese restaurants. In the 1950's the one that I visited often was Low Moon. It was on Market Street near Washington Street across from Bamberger's. Unlike most restaurants in that area it was located on the second floor. As I remember it was a very narrow room and you passed the manager at the front counter. He always seemed to be operating his abacus. I have no idea what he was counting but he was always counting something.

How many people remember the Chinese using the abacus?

It was a crude wooden calculator where they would slide wooden beads back and forth on a rod. I was told that it was very accurate.

The Chinese obviously had problems with the English language. But they cleverly worked around it with numbered menus and other aids. Most restaurants had both luncheon and dinner menus. As would be expected the former was less than the latter.

One day I went to Low Moon's around 3:00 P.M. I think it was the day before payday and I didn't have much money in my wallet. I had enough to cover a luncheon but not for a dinner.

I told the waiter what I wanted but he didn't understand my concern about whether luncheon or dinner was being served. He seemed to ignore me. I tried to explain to him a couple of times. All of a sudden he shouted at me" I talka food, no talka price".

When I finished eating I paid the man with the abacus and thanked God for not having to wash any bowls that afternoon.


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