[image_frame style=”framed_shadow” align=”left” alt=”John Mar” title=”John Mar” height=”300″ width=”200″]http://yolohospice.org/wp-content/uploads/2013/10/johnmar1.jpg[/image_frame]
How many times, in a hurry for a quick dinner, have you dashed across town for Chinese take-out? You have John Mar to thank for this tasty convenience. In 1948, John and his wife, Mary, opened The Chinese Kitchen at 19th and X Streets in Sacramento, the first Chinese take-out in the region.
Modest and a bit mischievous, John says of his restaurant opening, “It doesn’t take much to do it. Just open a front door.” Easy for him to say, he also knows how to cook. The restaurant is gone now, but the take-out concept thrives.
After selling the restaurant in the early 1950s, the former WWII bombardier navigator took advantage of the GI Bill to enroll in UC Berkeley’s School of Architecture. “I was the oldest one there,” Mar recalls. “I had to help the young guys with their engineering.” Remodeling supermarkets became the cornerstone of a long successful career. He helped Asian and other ethnic markets crossover to become mainstream grocery stores and supermarkets.
John made things happen. He was awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross, the Air Medal with four Oak Leaf Clusters and the ETO ribbon with three Battle Stars. He established the first Chinese take-out in the region and helped pave the way for other Asians in our community. Is it just coincidence that almost all major supermarkets boast a Chinese take-out counter?
John’s favorite dish: Flank steak, peppers and tomatoes, Chinese style, of course. “The best flavor you can get,” he said with a smile.
After graduating from UC Berkeley in 1955, John worked for several Bay Area architecture firms. In 1961, he established a private practice in Sacramento which kept him busy until retirement. He and his wife Mary have a son, Gary, and daughter, Jackie. John died on January 8, 2007.