Chinese immigrant George Chin owned and operated the popular House of Chin on Sixth Street for 30 years.
House of Chin
The ghost of the House of Chin, a little bar and Chinese restaurant, remains visible to the curious who will risk traffic to stand in the middle of Sixth Street close to Green, facing south, and crane their necks up and to the east to catch a sliver of the old roofline of a modest three-story white house embedded in food and drink establishments that have been remodeled and rebuilt over the past three decades at that location.
This was a neighborhood of white frame houses with front porches and steeply pitched roofs. When it opened in 1964, the House of Chin was a business-in-a-house; in the 1960's customers sat on the porch facing Sixth Street to drink beer or sloe gin.
George Chin, a Chinese immigrant, transformed the Louie Lee Laundry (later the House of Chin Laundry, 1946-64) at 706 South Sixth Street into the House of Chin bar/restaurant. At the time, it was the only Chinese restaurant in Campustown. The family lived on the third floor above the second-floor restaurant and the first-floor Asian-styled bar called the Bamboo Lounge.
The bar eventually expanded to take in the Chin front porch populated by the "porch people. " one porch person recalled those days: "It was fun and a bit bizarre. We'd sit out there in warm weather, drinking beer and spotting friends we knew walking or driving down the street. Sometimes we'd jump out on the street and drag them in. More well-intentioned people got sidetracked that way. To this day, I've never seen anything like that arrangement."
The porch era ended in 1968, when George Chin expanded the restaurant onto the porch space. The House of Chin survived in one incarnation or another into the 1990's. George Chin died in 2006 at the age of eighty-four; by fall 2016 the Clybourne, the last in a series of businesses to occupy the House of Chin building, had vacated the space.
Source: An Illini Place: Building the University of Illinois Campus - By Lex Tate, John Franch, Incoronata Inserra