Herald-Dispatch file photo In 2009, Ming Eng and his wife, Lisa, closed the doors of their popular Huntington restaurant for the last time. Here, they posed with their son Ben, offering a goodbye wave to their loyal customers. Ben grew up helping his parents at the restaurant. Today, he’s an assistant professor of marketing and entrepreneurship at Marshall University.

Editor's Note: This is the 288th in a series of articles recalling vanished Huntington scenes.

HUNTINGTON - As a teenager, Ming Eng made his way from his native China to Hong Kong and then to Toronto, Canada, where he worked as a busboy and waiter. Within 10 years he was the head chef at a Toronto restaurant, and it was there that Huntington's Harold Frankel, owner of the Route 60 Holiday Inn, found him.

It took some doing, but Frankel managed to convince Eng to come to Huntington to be the chef at the Ma-KiKi Club, a Polynesian-style bar and restaurant at his motel. That was in 1969.

Later, Eng would open his own restaurant, Ming's, taking over the former Elephant Walk, a private club at the Hotel Frederick. The room offered all manner of fanciful elephant touches - colorful paintings, a carpet with elephant footprints, bar stools fashioned to look like elephant feet and a colorful mural of dancing elephants. But it was the delicious food, not the fancy dcor, that drew patrons to Ming's and kept them coming back.

For the next 30 years. Ming held forth in the kitchen, and his wife Lisa managed things out front. Thus, it truly seemed like the end of an era when Ming's closed at the Frederick, but Eng wasn't ready to call it quits just yet. He would put in another decade at a new location at the Stone Lodge motel on U.S. 60 East.

But in November 2009, the big sign outside the restaurant spelled out the bad news - Ming's was closing, this time for good. People flocked to the restaurant those last few days - so many that they ran out of food and had to turn people away. After working 15 hours a day for 40 years, Eng said he was looking forward to taking a vacation - his first ever.


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