"We believe the sign belonged to a restaurant in the 1940s," wrote a staffer from New Hyde Park's office of the village historian.
That's the approximate date of construction, continued the staffer, for the building that covered it (till 2005, when it burned down). The name of the restaurant itself, unless it was literally "China Rest," is unknown. Six decades under cover, and an east-northeast orientation, have kept those colors bright; by clicking the photo below, you can also see that one ingredient, at least in he dish's Long Island incarnation, was the button mushroom.
A date of the 1940s, or earlier, jibes with one notable citation for lobster "Canton style" as opposed to the currently prevalent "Cantonese style." Lum Fong, a native of Canton, came to the United States in 1915, according to his New York Times obituary; he opened two Manhattan restaurants bearing his name, on Canal St. in 1925 and in Midtown in 1940. Not only was Mr. Fong famous for having introduced his home city's cuisine to the American public, added the newspaper, but at the time of his death in 1952, he made his home in Malverne, New York — just a few miles south of this painted sign.
"Lobster Canton Style"
Sign for an unknown Chinese restaurant, c. 1940
Jericho Turnpike near Lakeville Rd., New Hyde Park, New York