“Come on in to the Cathay Inn, come on in to the Cathay Inn …” That’s the beginning of a jingle that has been enticing diners with a hankering for Chinese food for the last 20 years, but the restaurant itself is turning 60 years old on Monday.
“We have people who come in here and sing the jingle,” said owner Eddie Eng, laughing. “It’s a good little song.”
It was Eng’s dad, Tom Eng, who opened the Cathay Inn on North Division Street in 1950. Since then, it’s been owned and run by four generations of the Eng family in the same location, making it one of Spokane’s oldest restaurants.
To celebrate the anniversary, the Cathay Inn is serving up two menu favorites at their original 1950s price on Monday from noon to 8 p.m.
The China Special – or the number 5 – is a combination of pork chow mein, sweet and sour ribs and fried prawns for $1.25.
The Combination Dinner – the number 14 – fills a plate with pork chow mein, sweet and sour ribs and egg foo young for $1.
“Those were the favorites,” said Eddie Eng. “Today people eat more cook to order, they are more sophisticated, they want certain things.”
The Cathay Inn has been in the same location since it opened, though the buildings have undergone five different restorations and one big addition in 1998.