Salinas to reopen historic cafe as Asian museum

SALINAS, Calif. (AP) — The Republic Cafe in Salinas served as a gathering place for the local Asian American community for decades. Federal funds are currently helping to transform it into a museum and cultural center.

The renovation got a boost last week with a three-year, $600,000 Department of Housing and Urban Development grant to California State University, Monterey Bay. The planned Asian Cultural Center and Museum is the centerpiece of the Chinatown Renewal Project, led by the city and university.

Wally Ahtye, whose family owned the cafe, says the city’s Chinese, Japanese, and Filipino communities came together there. They held celebrations, weddings, and Chinese New Year parties. The cafe operated from 1942 to 1988.

Organizers say the museum will showcase, among other things, Asian American contributions to the agricultural industry. ♦

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