The king of Grand Rapids Chinatown. Chan Hoy arrived in Grand Rapids in the late  1880s. Ever the entrepreneur, he soon opened the  “Hermitage Laundry” at 140 Canal Street and additional locations in Holland and Grand Haven.    In the spring of 1902, he  leased 80 acres of land and  established a Chinese-run  farm in Paris Township.  In October of that same year,  Chan opened his first restaurant,  Hong Far Lo, at 28 Pearl St.  Its grand opening showcased  his flair for showmanship and took place  over three nights, each night consisting of a complimentary banquet, music, and fireworks  display. It created much fanfare and was  covered extensively in all the local papers. This made Chan a local celebrity, and cemented him  as the “King of Grand Rapids Chinatown.”   In the summer of 1908, Chan opened his  second restaurant, Hong Ying Lo, on the  second floor of what is today Mojo’s Dueling  Piano Bar on the corner of Pearl and Canal  (later Monroe). Once again, there was much  fanfare and newspaper coverage. Chan’s last great endeavor in Grand Rapids occurred in the winter of 1914 when Hong Far Lo opened its new location above the Idlehour Theater at 188 Monroe which, until recently, was        the location of Bull’s Head Tavern. At the        height of his career, he owned businesses in        Chicago, Cleveland, and New York, in        addition to his businesses in Michigan.Through his entrepreneurial endeavors, Chan became acquainted with the prominent men of Grand Rapids. These connections proved useful in navigating the Chinese                            Exclusion laws and the                            obstacles they created.                               For example, when his son,                              Chan Sing, was detained and                              set for deportation in the                              winter of 1910, Chan could                              enlist the support of both                              Michigan Senators to                              intervene on his behalf. With their help, Chan was reunited with his son, an outcome out of reach for most Chinese immigrants during that time. This story is brought to you by the Grand Rapids Asian Pacific Foundation  Join our community at