The iconic Cathay Temple restaurant was a fixture on Route 6 in Mattapoisett for decades before closing in 2000. The restaurant opened on April 10, 1951, and became a mainstay for many in the area.

According to SouthCoastToday.com, Charlie Wong, who was born in China, came to America in 1921 after serving in World War I. Wong opened a laundry on Pleasant Street in New Bedford and sent for his wife Jade (Woo) Wong in 1923 to join him in America

The Wongs purchased a restaurant at 942 Purchase Street in 1926, appropriately named Charlie Wong's. The restaurant became famous for its chow mein sandwich.

The Wongs had seven children who worked in the family business.

Mattapoisett Was Home To The Wong Family's Cathay Temple
Courtesy Historic WomenoftheSouthCoast.org
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A fire destroyed Charlie Wong's, so the family opened at a new location on Purchase Street before eventually opening on Acushnet Avenue north of Coggeshall Street.

HistoricWomenoftheSouthCoast.org says, "In 1951, the Wong family purchased property, previously known as The Sea Grille on Route 6 in Mattapoisett, and made plans for an authentic Cantonese restaurant that would be named Cathay Temple."

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When an aging Charlie Wong became too ill to run Cathay Temple, his wife and daughter Suzie, a 1944 New Bedford High School graduate, took over.

Cathay Temple was known for its authentic-looking and elaborate interior and exterior. It was also famous for its fine Chinese food.

Mattapoisett Was Home To The Wong Family's Cathay Temple
Spinner Publications Photo
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Cathay Temple closed on September 3, 2000. After changing hands several times, Ying Zhao and his brother, the owners of Ying Dynasty in Dartmouth, purchased the restaurant in 2009 and renamed it Ying Dynasty of Mattapoisett.

Ying Dynasty of Mattapoisett is still in operation today.

Tim Weisberg/Townsquare Media
Tim Weisberg/Townsquare Media
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Suzie Wong began running Cathay Temple when she was 25 and was responsible for its success.

Suzie Wong married Richard H. van Wiggeren. The couple had two daughters as well as several grandchildren and great-grandchildren.

Suzie Wong van Wiggeren died on August 10, 2019.

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Gallery Credit: Kari Jakobsen

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