DEAR SUN SPOTS: I suspect you'll get feedback on the Sept. 6 query about a Chinese restaurant on Lisbon Street in the 1940s and '50s.
The Joy Inn was indeed on Lisbon Street, and you had to climb a flight of stairs to get to the restaurant and, as I recall, another flight of stairs for the banquet room/dance venue. Here is a 1941 ad in the Lisbon High School yearbook, the Lisbonian:
Dine and Dance, Joy Inn, American-Chinese Restaurant. Special daily dinner — 35 cents. All kinds of chop suey to take out. Telephone 1643. James Y. Quai, Manager. 20 Lisbon Street, Lewiston, Maine.
— Mert Ricker, email@example.com
ANSWER: Sun Spots heard from dozens of readers that she was all wet on her answer to this question. She cannot possibly print all the responses, but here are a few excerpts from some of the letters.
DEAR SUN SPOTS: My mother spoke about the Joy Inn decades ago, especially when I was dating Dennis Chin, whose family owned the Nanking.
I believe the Joy Inn closed before the mid-1960s, because at that time Lisbon Street was the place to be for teenagers and I don't remember the Joy Inn, which was in the area of the current Androscoggin Bank. — No Name via email
DEAR SUN SPOTS: I spoke to Katie Chin, the daughter of the owner of Nanking, now living in California. She told me that her family settled in Lewiston after speaking to their friends who owned the Joy Inn. — Jeannine Kivus, Lewiston
DEAR SUN SPOTS: My sister-in-law's mother worked for Joy Inn, and I have a friend whose grandparents owned the restaurant. — L.H. via email
DEAR SUN SPOTS: The Joy Inn was on Lisbon Street between Liggett's Drug and Woolworth's, I believe. The wide red staircase led to the second story. — J.V. via email
ANSWER: A.E.L. in Lewiston also mentioned Kinney Shoes.
DEAR SUN SPOTS: To help out D.R.B. in Rumford, the Joy Inn was near the Ames Butter Store on the left side going east on Lisbon Street in the first block. — Geri Provencher Guerette, Winthrop
DEAR SUN SPOTS: I always enjoy reading your column; the inquiries bring back many memories.
The Joy Inn was in the green space between what is now Dostie's Jewelers and the bank. It was on the second floor and had a beautiful marble staircase going up. My husband also remembers a one-man shoeshine stand on the second landing of the stairs.
Both my husband and I remember eating there with our parents. In fact, I had two aunts who waitressed at the Joy Inn. I know a lady in her 90s who has a menu of the restaurant (she waitressed also). — C.Y.M., Lewiston
ANSWER: You might want to check out the menu's value. A matchbook from the Nanking was recently on eBay for $20.
Other readers also had fond memories:
* I remember going up the long staircase of the Joy Inn as a young child and waiting for takeout with my father. — Janet Lapin
* I remember smelling the Joy Inn's food while waiting for the bus, even though I was too young to dine out. — N.L.S., Auburn
* In the late 1940s I would climb the wide, very steep stairway to the Joy Inn to purchase fresh bean sprouts for my mother. — Monique G. Gagne
* My family ate there every New Year's Day. — anita st.germain
* We always went to the Joy Inn on our trips to the city, and I still think of it when I pass through the Lisbon Street area. — firstname.lastname@example.org
* As a child, my parents took me and my brothers to the Joy Inn several times. I recall the long, wide staircase to the second floor. The riser portions of the stairs were made of colorful mosaic tile and had shiny brass rails on each side. It was an exotic experience for a young child. The Joy Inn is where I was introduced to Chinese food, and I enjoy it still some 60-plus years later. — Moe Gilbert, email@example.com
* The Joy Inn had a marquee with lights. You went through the door at about 40 Lisbon St., up the stairs. You turned left at the top landing to the restaurant. They had a dance floor surrounded by the dining booths. I was a student at Bliss Business College from 1952 to 1954 and on occasion a few of us went and ordered different dishes of food we shared. — Fred Goldrup via email
ANSWER: Now that Chinese food has been fondly remembered, time to move on to the next kind of cuisine ...
DEAR SUN SPOTS: What was the name of the Italian restaurant/hotel on the corner of Main and Lincoln streets? It was next to the gas station. I believe it later became a bar called the "49." — D.A.V., North Monmouth
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