Wo Fat Restaurant explicitly embraces a “Chinese” style. A rarity within Honolulu's Chinatown, its dramatic, neon lit, pagoda-like tower frequently stands as a touchstone image of the district. The strong heritage statement is augmented by a tiled roofline and fretted transom windows. A second tower, which was part of a rooftop pavilion, was unsympathetically expanded to form an enclosed third floor. The restaurant was one of a number of Asian-styled buildings designed by Honolulu architect Yuk Tong Char. Other buildings included the Lau Yee Chai restaurant in Waikiki (1929), Chungshan Chinese Language School (1935), and Korean Christian Church (1938), all demolished, as well as Hilo Chinese Church (HA44). Born in Waipahu in 1890, Char graduated from Mills Institute (later Mid-Pacific Institute), and then in 1915 from Cornell University's department of architecture. For a number of years, he worked as a draftsman in the offices of Guy Rothwell and Herbert Cohen Cayton before opening his own practice in the 1930s.
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Wo Fat Restaurant
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