The landmark Cedar Center restaurant fell victim to greed and mendacity, false promises, vanity and a floundering real estate market.
Okay, you know how the memories are triggered, a scent, a visual, a suggestion from a friend, and the floodgates open. Memories of the plentiful and comforting taste of dishes at China Gate Restaurant on the north side of Cedar Road in South Euclid, Ohio will never vanish. Memories of lunches and dinners with family and friends. I frequently read online of people who remember the egg rolls, the egg foo yung, the sub-gum chow mein, fill in the blank from column A and column B. Some of these Chinese-American dishes we can duplicate and many we can't. The thing is that even if not authentic chinese dishes, they were food we ate when we wanted to feel at home.
The Cedar Center strip of our childhood, of our adulthood, is no more.
Not satisfied with the unglamorous aging strip mall lined with businesses well-used by the community, having served us for many years, for generations, it was torn down. Rather than funding a facelift, South Euclid decided to go for the promises and vision of a developer rather than respecting the past. The gaza strip wasn't pretty, it was an amalgam of ugly buildings but we shopped there, we dined out there, we knew it as part of our life experience. It was a comfort place with risky parking in front and plenty of space in the rear. And now it is gone.
According to what I heard, the folks who owned or worked at China Gate restaurant there were given to understand that they would be welcome to return when a new building rose from the ashes. The sad thing is that China Gate never reopened anyplace else. Their departure took the recipes for their distinctive Chinese-American cooking into limbo.
The affordable Marc's will be replaced by Gordon Foods and soon other big box or franchise retailers. No longer will we see local businesses, the victims again as are we. Until then, we can look at the now empty lot to see the fate of pleasant memories.
3/2012 Gordons is in, there are signs of construction to come. But the process is long and there is no China Gate phoenix yet.
4/01/12 Don't let the date fool you. According to an announcement by the City of South Euclid, China Gate will be among a few restaurants back in business by the summer. We'll can only hope.