Drooling on the Pillow

Wednesday, November 16, 2005

To The Canton Restaurant, Thanks For Everything, Sluggo 

I just found out that the Canton Restaurant in Journal Square closed. Don't panic, this happened a year ago, but Sluggo's J-Square sources are coming off an extended break.

I havn't been there in a couple years and was only there maybe half a dozen times total, but if you never ate there, let me tell you, you missed something.

Not the food. The food was okay to not so okay, but I don't think, with the possible exception of the old Luchow's on 14th street, I ever saw a place shimmering with so much atmosphere.

It was built in 1930 and absolutely nothing was done since then to the basic design. There was a large dance floor surrounded by two levels of banquettes, all done in heavy sculpted wood with dragons and script. Red and gold. It was dark. It was very easy to imagine Sydney Greenstreet sitting at his regular table in the corner. I always ordered a Manhattan or similar sophisticated highball. I noticed women (even habitual suds-slammers) tended to order drinks the color of '50s linoleum with paper umbrellas.

The waiters looked like they were there from the beginning and hovered just this side of surly. They would give you a look like they were deciding whether to kill you right now or alert the white slave traders in the back of a likely candidate.

The Canton was used as backdrop for a number of movies, including To Wong Foo Thanks for Everything, Julie Newmar.

It's still there and someone could buy it and carry on the tradition, but, according to the Jersey City Reporter article linked to above, potential buyers have been scared off by the lack of parking in the area.
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