Category:
Restaurants

The Linden Springs Rocket Restaurant

The Linden Springs Rocket Restaurant, located in Staunton, Virginia, opened in 1959. A full-size, neon-lit rocket stood outside of it.

Going along with the theme of being a restaurant of the future, it boasted that it served food "cooked by radar." By this it meant that the food was microwaved.

This has to be one of the few times that a restaurant has actually bragged about serving microwave-cooked food.

image source: hippostcard.com



The restaurant went out of business in the 1970s, and the rocket was taken down. I haven't been able to find out where it ended up.

Staunton Daily News Leader - Nov 20, 1959



Staunton Daily News Leader - Nov 2, 1959



Staunton Daily News Leader - July 31, 1959

Posted By: Alex - Thu Nov 02, 2023 - Comments (4)
Category: Restaurants, Spaceflight, Astronautics, and Astronomy, 1950s

How to quit your job and get married on $25 a week

The 1940s answer, according to the Forum Cafeteria in St. Louis, was to save money by eating at their restaurant. Based on the menu, it sounds like it was decent food.

I don't think you'd ever save money by eating out nowadays, unless you're ordering from the dollar menu at a fast food restaurant.

St. Louis Post Dispatch - May 1, 1941

Posted By: Alex - Wed Jun 07, 2023 - Comments (0)
Category: Restaurants, Advertising, Marriage, 1940s

Biggest gratuity ever?

In 1941, when Dolores Moran was 15, she worked as a waitress at a drive-in restaurant in San Jose, California. One day she served a local farmer some coffee and hamburger. The next year Moran left San Jose and moved to Hollywood where she achieved brief fame as an actress.

Dolores Moran. Image source: wikipedia



By the 1960s her acting career had ended. But then, in 1968, Moran learned that the farmer she had served at the drive-in 27 years ago had died, leaving her his apricot orchard valued at around $300,000 (or $2.5 million in today's money).

Moran had no memory of serving the farmer, whose name was Anthony Ponce. Nor had the two ever communicated since then. She said, "for the life of me I can't remember the man." But evidently she had made a big impression on him.

Monroe News Star - Dec 18, 1968



Ponce's relatives contested the will, arguing that he was not of sound mind when he made it. I haven't been able to find out how the case was settled, but I'm guessing Moran got to keep the orchard since it's usually fairly difficult to invalidate a will.

If she did get to keep it, then that would have to count as one of the biggest gratuities of all time. Perhaps the biggest? Especially for an order of coffee and hamburger.

Peninsula Times Tribune - Feb 19, 1969

Posted By: Alex - Thu Apr 06, 2023 - Comments (3)
Category: Death, Law, Restaurants, Actors

Oh Great, Now What?

Artists Paul Velick and Francis Shishim joined forces in 1975 to create the personae of "Bob & Bob." As Bob & Bob they engaged in performances such as the following:

A piece called Oh great, now what? consisted of eating lavish meals at expensive restaurants in Beverly Hills, then "discovering" they were broke, saying "Oh great, now what?" and being thrown out.

Text from Source book of California performance art.

I'm surprised the restaurants only threw them out. I figured an expensive restaurant would report you to the police, at the very least.

image source: BobandBob.net

Posted By: Alex - Thu Mar 30, 2023 - Comments (2)
Category: Restaurants, Performance Art, 1970s

Follies of the Madmen #549

Posted By: Paul - Tue Dec 13, 2022 - Comments (0)
Category: Family, Newspapers, Restaurants, Advertising, Comics, Junk Food, 1960s

The Cave Restaurant and Resort of Missouri

Alas, it closed in 2015.

When it was last for sale, a mere quarter-million. Call the realtor to see what you can arrange.

Posted By: Paul - Sat Dec 11, 2021 - Comments (2)
Category: Regionalism, Restaurants, Caves, Caverns, Tunnels and Other Subterranean Venues

Sinkles

I posted a few days ago about the International Association of People Who Dine Over the Kitchen Sink, aka 'Sinkies'.

And then yesterday, by chance, I came across this Portlandia sketch about Sinkles, the restaurant for people who dine over the kitchen sink.

Posted By: Alex - Sat Dec 04, 2021 - Comments (1)
Category: Humor, Restaurants

Capt. Hinman’s Floating Restaurant

Captain Sidney Hinman demonstrating a life suit of his own design.

"Capt. Sidney Hinman, Coney Island Life Guard, eating a midday repast cooked by himself on a raft table he constructed standing in eighteen feet of water while encased in his non-sinkable life-saving suit." Brooklyn Standard Union - Apr 20, 1921



"Demonstrating his safety suit — Capt. Sidney Hinman of the Coney Island life saving guards, recently paddled his way down the Hudson River in a suit designed to keep a person afloat. He paddled along for an hour." Regina Leader-Post - Mar 28, 1922

Posted By: Alex - Mon Mar 15, 2021 - Comments (6)
Category: Restaurants, 1920s

Baitinger’s Automatic Eater

I posted last week about a 1940's invention which envisioned putting restaurant diners on a conveyor belt so that they could be carried past food stations. Several readers commented that the Japanese have embraced the opposite concept, of putting the food on a conveyor belt so that it travels past the diners.

I did some research and discovered that the origin of the idea of having food on a conveyor belt traces all the way back to 1919 when John Moses Baitinger of Minnesota applied for a patent on this concept, which he called his "Automatic Eater". His patent was granted in 1923. He had small wooden cars, laden with food and drinks, moving along tracks, pulled by a system of cables.





Karal Ann Marling discusses some of the history of Baitinger's invention in her book Blue Ribbon: A Social and Pictorial History of the Minnesota State Fair:

One of the strangest devices ever seen at the Minnesota State Fair was Baitinger's Automatic Eater. A kind of mechanized restaurant, the Eater consisted of a 150-foot-long counter along which moved a procession of eighty-five wooden cars propelled by a system of cables embedded in a groove in the surface. The cars held food, and diners snatched for their favorite dishes as the train coursed past. Some cars had drawers filled with ice, to keep fruit or celery fresh; some were warmed with heated soapstones.

The ensemble was the invention of the Reverend J.M. Baitinger, an Evangelic churchman, who stationed himself out in front with a megaphone to ballyhoo a new era in state fair dining: "Haba! Haba! Haba! This is the place to be merry. Eat! Eat! Eat! All you want for 50 cents; for without a full stomach you cannot enjoy the fair. Haba! Haba! Haba!"

The Automatic Eater cost Baitinger more than one thousand dollars to build but, because of its novelty and the economies it permitted, the cafe more than paid for itself during a trial run conducted on the last few days of the 1920 fair. "Through the medium of the Automatic Eater," he stated the following summer, "I do away with all excess help and employ only one cook, a dish washer, and a woman to keep the train well stocked with food. I pay no attention to what my customers eat, how long they stay or how much food they consume." But there were healthy profits, which Baitinger turned over to a St. Paul hospital.

Baitinger's Eater was, in many ways, a perfect expression of the mentality of the automation-mad 1920s, obsessed with speed, technology, and efficiency. There were minor drawbacks to the system, however. Diners seated near the end of the line sometimes found that the only cargo left for the eating was boiled cabbage.

Posted By: Alex - Sun Feb 28, 2021 - Comments (2)
Category: Food, Inventions, Patents, Restaurants, 1910s

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