In 1920, the very first Chinese cuisine restaurant opened in Berks County at 739 Penn Street in Reading by Chee Yuen Hong and his father Sik Que Hong. Back then it was called the Far East Tea Garden and was ran by various members of the Hong family through the following decades and moves. In 1929 the family moved the restaurant a block away to 837 Penn Street where it remained for over three decades and became Far East Chinese Restaurant.
In 1966 Far East Chinese Restaurant left the city and settled along Lancaster Pike in Shillington. It remained there for four more decades until the restaurant closed in the 2000s.
Many Dutchy Berks Countians had their first experience with Chinese cuisine at Far East over the years. As a chinese-food-loving-as-long-as-I-can-remember millenial, imagine my surprise when my Mother informed me the first time she ever had Chinese food was at Far East Chinese Restaurant on Lancaster Pike, was when she was in her 20s. The restaurant also had a gift shop where one could buy trinkets and fun little gifts. It appears the building was added onto between the 1967 and 1983 aerials above.
The building was razed in the mid 2010’s to make way for a Dollar General which still stands on the site. In 2019, brush along old Lancaster Pike was cleared roughly a mile south of where the Far East Chinese Restaurant once stood. The foliage removal revealed an old Far East billboard that sat along route 222 before the expansion project took the adjacent land by eminent domain. Below is footage of that billboard:
I am unsure who owns that land or what the plans are for that area or if the sign has been removed since. If you know drop a comment.
Source: Reading Eagle