The above graphic with children bringing their pet dogs to a Chinese
restaurant clearly shows early attitudes toward Chinese restaurants were
very negative. Below is an demeaning 1894 image of a Chinese in a restaurant using chopsticks (incorrectly) to eat a bowl of noodles from which the tail of a rat can be seen.
Early Chinese restaurants , such as the Yet Far Low below in Fresno, Ca. had austere decor and served dishes that other Chinese enjoyed. They were not patronized by most non-Chinese.
The tide turned more favorably toward Chinese food when whites became curious about "chop suey" and flocked to Chinatown to try out this 'new dish' that received publicity when the Chinese viceroy reportedly enjoyed eating it on a 1908 diplomatic visit to the U. S.
1921 Drawing by Douglas Ryan from N.Y. Tribune article describing the transition of Chinese from the laundry into the restaurant business.
Above, the census sheet for Race Street in Philadelphia in 1920 shows that many Chinese were working as restaurant cooks or waiters.
A family picture of the Wong family in front of their Lodi, CA. New Shanghai restaurant back in the 1940s.
Below, the 'closing sign' in Silver Wing Restaurant by Leland Wong , symbolically illustrates the decline of the Cantonese Chinese
family restaurants. Since the 1960s, they have not fared well against
large, and elegant restaurants owned by many partners and featuring
cuisines from other parts of China.