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Jennifer

Wanted - Your memories of old, regional chains or local mom 'n pops

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In a very obscure way, I ended up thinking about a restaurant I'd been to in Connecticut when I was a kid (in the 1970's), called Lum's Restaurant. At 7 years old, I didn't know or care whether it was a chain, though now I don't have the same affinity for Applebee's as I might have for a place like Lum's. Of course, now my preferred road dining is mom 'n pop diners, cafes & restaurants, but there are some memorable chains of the past that hold an interest of nostalgia, so I thought I'd start this discussion.

 

So, I was trying to drum up memories of chains of the past (though they may still exist in certain areas...).

 

Here's some I thought of:

  • Lum's Restaurant - Cheshire, CT (I believe they had various national locations). I don't know why this place sticks in my memory!
  • Wagon-Ho - Florida. OK...I have actually not been to one of these. But my great-uncle was quite a photographer back in his day and on a vacation, he took a slide of a place called "Wagon Ho". I will amend this post to add the photo when I am home. I think the slide was taken in the early 60's. It just seemed pretty cool, so I thought I'd mention it.
  • Chock Full o' Nuts - a coffee shop chain based in New York City
  • A & W - I know these still exist, mainly paired with Long John Silver's & such, but I loved the original car-hop variety. I can think of two I used to go to as a kid - one in Woodbury, CT the other in Wolcott, CT
  • Speaking of Long John Silver's, I loved the original design of their buildings, with the wooden "gangplank" and rope fence...kinda cool for a chain.
  • Howard Johnson's - I haven't been to many, but a few. Several times I went to one in Mystic, CT. The hotel is still a HoJo's minus the distinctive, orange roof, of course (are there any left?). The restaurant is not HoJo's, though. I had been to the one in Times Square, New York City several times before its closure; and probably a time or two at the currently operating location in Waterbury, Connecticut Howard Johnson's Restaurant - Waterbury, CT . Wish Pat & I had eaten there a couple of weeks ago when we were there! I don't even know how many of them are left, but I know it isn't many.
  • Department store lunch counters & restaurants - There's alot I can think of, and probably no one would know of the specific Waterbury, CT-area places I could mention. But generally I miss small discount department store lunch counters or cafeteria-style dining in department stores (Sears, etc.) The food court just isn't the same!
  • Kenny Rogers Roasters - OK, this one's from the not too distant past, really...but I loved that chicken. And the aroma of the wood burning oven they had was heavenly (it would probably give me a migraine now, though!). I believe there is still one in Alabama.
So, I'm curious what everyone else stirs your memory of past regional or local chains, or mom n' pops of the past!

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Three former chains from southwest Ohio came to mind immediately: Sixty-Second Shops, Carter's, & Parkmoor. All were Big Boy style drive-ins with car-hops, etc.

 

A story I've heard has the Sixty-Second Shops (Service in 60 seconds!) coming from a split between two partners in a place called The Clock Restaurant or Clock Burgers. I understand that was a chain, too, but I don't personally remember it. There is a building downtown with the imprint of a clock in cement above the door. I've been told that that is the original Clock Burger location but I have nothing to support that. I don't recall where that clock is so have the target for a future treasure hunt.

 

Carter's was the local Kentucky Fried Chicken franchisee and I believe they tried a legal challenge when KFC opened their own stores in Ohio. For awhile (late '60s, early '70') you could buy official Kentucky Fried Chicken from either of them.

 

Parkmoor was in Dayton, Cincinnati, and several other towns in the area. The other two may have been Cincinnati only. It also featured fried chicken which a matchbook that recently went unsold on eBay identified as "Dixie Golden Fried Chicken". I remember others having arguments over whether Carter's or Parkmoor had the best chicken but for me it was the Parkmoor onion rings that stood out. Those at Parkmoor came in a box and were the best. I still miss those.

 

And I do remember Lum's. They sold beer in big frosted schooners one of which I believe I just may still have at home. Adopted legally from the schooner orphanage if anyone asks. :P

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And I do remember Lum's. They sold beer in big frosted schooners one of which I believe I just may still have at home. Adopted legally from the schooner orphanage if anyone asks. :P

 

No questions asked, Denny!

 

I don't remember this myself, because I'm sure I never had one as a kid, but evidently one of Lum's specialties was hot dogs cooked in beer. Since I don't like beer as an adult, I am sure I wouldn't have one today if it was available! But those who like both hot dogs and beer might find this quite a delicacy. :unsure:

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I remember a couple of local ones:

First, in downtown Allentown there was a major department store at Ninth and Hamilton Streets. Hess Brothers, and later Hess's had a fantastic restaurant in the basement of the flagship store which featured live fashion shows with models walking between the tables, and kid's meals delivered in toy oven and served to the table from the oven. One of the specialty items was strawberry pie which was more than a meal itself. Kid's were able to get the clown sundae with an ice cream cone hat. I remember standing in line a number of times and even as a kid, 30 minutes was not too long to wait for the special meal.

Another favorite in the Lehigh Valley was Shankweilers at the intersection of Old US 22 and PA 100. It was a stately old home with a country look and specialized in the PA Dutch feature of Chicken and Waffles. It now is a branch of a local bank. What a loss. My favorite hobby shop used to be next door, but Don Mohr's Hobbyland is long gone as well.

I ate many a meal Howard Johnson's, especially on the PA Turnpike when all the quaint stone rest areas featured HoJo's and my favorite french fried clams.

And my favorite as a child when going to any big city was the Automat where I could put my coins in a slot and open the glass door for my sandwich and desert. What a great way to eat when on a school bus trip.

There were many more favorite local diners, but they were all similar. The most memorable was when the old Thomas' Diner on Tilghman Street (old 22) in Allentown became the Blue Moon Diner, and had a 57 Chevy mounted on the roof. They brought back the diner specialties of meat loaf, mac and cheese, BLT, real mashed potatoes and real milk shakes. I still miss that one a lot.

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And my favorite as a child when going to any big city was the Automat where I could put my coins in a slot and open the glass door for my sandwich and desert. What a great way to eat when on a school bus trip.

 

I loved the Horn & Hardart Automats....what a cool concept! I used to go to one in New York City, not too far from Grand Central (42nd Street & 3rd Avenue). It's such a shame they are all gone now....I'm much too young to have visited during its heyday; my visits were near the very end of its lifespan (late 80's through its closure in 1991). I did like the macaroni & cheese though! I even saved some of the tokens! :D

 

I found a couple of cool books on Amazon: Remembering Woolworth's - This features the heyday of Woolworth's five and dime, the lunch counters/soda fountains, etc.

 

The Automat - Features the history - and recipes! - of the Automat. I just reserved both books from the Indianapolis Public Library - glad they had them! :D

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My greatest memory growing up was Al Green's Famous Food, a drive-in on the east side of Indianapolis on US 40. By the time the early 1980's rolled around, Al's had seen it's far better days. It was one of "the" places to see and be seen during the Indianapolis cruising scene in the 1950's, according to my mom & dad. Not only was it a drive-in, but they also showed B-movies in the parking lot. But as time wore on, Al started slowing down and eventually before closing in 1984, it was just Al and his sister Belle working there. Al made the food, and Belle took the orders. Gone were the car hops.....the neon was broken......the bohemeth sign was a shadow of its former self. This is the Al Green's I remember, since I was still in grade school in the late 1970's. However, if I begged enough, I got to tag along with some of my older brothers on a Friday or Saturday night. I'd be in the back in the kitchen area where Al had an Asteroids arcade where I'd kill time. Al loved IU basketball and Bobby Knight. You'd never find a bigger supporter of either than Al was. Belle was nothing less than a riot....very outgoing and never afraid to tell you what's on her mind. They were really good to me and my five older brothers. Often times, Belle would greet us by our sequence number of our birth in the Bremer clan. When she'd see me walk in with one of my brothers, she'd yell out, "Hey Al, look! Number 6 is here"! It went a little further than that, as she introduced my brother Scott (Number 2) to his future wife, Jane. In 1986, a couple years after they closed, they even showed their support to us by showing up to my mom's funeral.

 

In the later years, Al's was not only known for its still great food, but for the slow service. How slow? Well, when you placed your order with Belle, it could easily be another 3 hours before it'd be ready on a busy night! That's just the way it was. Al would cook it one order at a time. And it was the best burger-food I've ever had....nothing will ever come close. The burgers were served with, as best can be described, a condensed golden mushroom soup on top of the burger. They were best consumed with a side of tater tots and a jumbo cherry Coke. Whatever ratio Belle used with the cherry syrup to Coke have yet to be duplicated according to my taste buds.

 

After they closed in '84, Al and Belle continued to live in the basement of the restaurant until the early 1990's when the board of health ordered them out. They later sold the land to a car dealer and Al Green's became a memory. Al passed away in the late 1990's and Belle passed away in 2005.

 

For those of you who might have a copy of Karl Raitz' "A Guide to The National Road", there are two photos and some text about Al Green's on page 243. I'd love to find pictures of Al's from its heyday. Just glad I was able to experience what I did.

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I, too, loved the old store lunch counters. My favorite was probably those in "dime stores." Favorite order there was a BBQ sandwich with soda.

 

There was a cafeteria in downtown St. Louis named the Black Cat that served awesome roast beef and cherry pie. It was near the old GM manufacturing plant. We ate lunch there each time Mom and Dad drove down from IL to pick up a new car for the dealership owned by my uncle.

 

The Sip 'n Bite in downtown Dwight, IL served sandwiches and ice cream in an old soda fountain atmosphere. Used to walk there with Mom and relish nearly everything they served. It's gone now, of course.

 

Favorite road food when a kid was hot roast beef sandwich with mashed potatoes and gravy. Ate this in many, many mom 'n pop establishments on 66, 36, and 100....Bliss

 

 

 

 

 

In a very obscure way, I ended up thinking about a restaurant I'd been to in Connecticut when I was a kid (in the 1970's), called Lum's Restaurant. At 7 years old, I didn't know or care whether it was a chain, though now I don't have the same affinity for Applebee's as I might have for a place like Lum's. Of course, now my preferred road dining is mom 'n pop diners, cafes & restaurants, but there are some memorable chains of the past that hold an interest of nostalgia, so I thought I'd start this discussion.

 

So, I was trying to drum up memories of chains of the past (though they may still exist in certain areas...).

 

Here's some I thought of:

  • Lum's Restaurant - Cheshire, CT (I believe they had various national locations). I don't know why this place sticks in my memory!
  • Wagon-Ho - Florida. OK...I have actually not been to one of these. But my great-uncle was quite a photographer back in his day and on a vacation, he took a slide of a place called "Wagon Ho". I will amend this post to add the photo when I am home. I think the slide was taken in the early 60's. It just seemed pretty cool, so I thought I'd mention it.
  • Chock Full o' Nuts - a coffee shop chain based in New York City
  • A & W - I know these still exist, mainly paired with Long John Silver's & such, but I loved the original car-hop variety. I can think of two I used to go to as a kid - one in Woodbury, CT the other in Wolcott, CT
  • Speaking of Long John Silver's, I loved the original design of their buildings, with the wooden "gangplank" and rope fence...kinda cool for a chain.
  • Howard Johnson's - I haven't been to many, but a few. Several times I went to one in Mystic, CT. The hotel is still a HoJo's minus the distinctive, orange roof, of course (are there any left?). The restaurant is not HoJo's, though. I had been to the one in Times Square, New York City several times before its closure; and probably a time or two at the currently operating location in Waterbury, Connecticut Howard Johnson's Restaurant - Waterbury, CT . Wish Pat & I had eaten there a couple of weeks ago when we were there! I don't even know how many of them are left, but I know it isn't many.
  • Department store lunch counters & restaurants - There's alot I can think of, and probably no one would know of the specific Waterbury, CT-area places I could mention. But generally I miss small discount department store lunch counters or cafeteria-style dining in department stores (Sears, etc.) The food court just isn't the same!
  • Kenny Rogers Roasters - OK, this one's from the not too distant past, really...but I loved that chicken. And the aroma of the wood burning oven they had was heavenly (it would probably give me a migraine now, though!). I believe there is still one in Alabama.
So, I'm curious what everyone else stirs your memory of past regional or local chains, or mom n' pops of the past!

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In a very obscure way, I ended up thinking about a restaurant I'd been to in Connecticut when I was a kid (in the 1970's), called Lum's Restaurant. At 7 years old, I didn't know or care whether it was a chain, though now I don't have the same affinity for Applebee's as I might have for a place like Lum's. Of course, now my preferred road dining is mom 'n pop diners, cafes & restaurants, but there are some memorable chains of the past that hold an interest of nostalgia, so I thought I'd start this discussion.

 

So, I was trying to drum up memories of chains of the past (though they may still exist in certain areas...).

 

Here's some I thought of:

[*]Lum's Restaurant - Cheshire, CT (I believe they had various national locations). I don't know why this place sticks in my memory!

 

I remember Lums! There was one not far from campus in Coral Gables. Got a story to tell about it:) One time a friend and I stopped by there after having a particularly taxing genetics exam. My friend went up and said "Gimme a hot dog and fruit flies...er, french fries":)

 

Growing up in Chattanooga in a rather traditional (read old fashioned:) family I remember going to cafeterias a lot. In particular I remember the one in Miller Bros. department store. It was up on the 4th floor which was the only floor you couldn't reach by escalator. We had to take the elevator and when the door opened, it was right at the toy department and on the far wall was a big mural of outer space with all the planets and a very 50's looking streamlined rocker ship:) The strange thing is the most memorable thing about the cafeteria was the macaroni and cheese and the tea. Memory can be such a strange thing:)

 

Chattanooga is the home of southern junk food. Moon Pies. Little Debbie snack cakes. And the Krystal restaurants:) The south's answer to White Castle burgers:) The original one was at the corner of 8th and Cherry Street and it was a real treat to go there. I remember the smell of the onions on those little burgers. And all the grownups getting coffee in those thick heavy mugs. My brother and I each have a couple of those mugs that he found at a flea market.

 

Back in the 70's there was Johnson's Truck Stop. The most notable thing was the sign. They didn't mess around. The sign was nothing less than an entire semi supported by massive steel pillars. The ad was painted on the sides of the trailer and the lights came on at night:)

 

Sheesh! Now I've made myself hungry:)

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As a kid, traveling from Ohio to Florida, our family always stopped at Stuckeys, a roadside ice cream, burger and gift shop. The stuff for sale tended to be pretty wacky. I guess that's why kids liked it. I still see one of the stores occassionally, but they are not the same.

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I remember stopping at Stuckey's on our family road trips.

 

I also remember the Roy Rogers restaurants. We lived in Virginia when I was young - and I recall the grand opening of the Roy Rogers restaurant there. I got to meet Roy Rogers. I think I was too young to really realize what that meant -- but, my parents were sure excited!

 

:)

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Just came home from a few days in North Central PA. We were able to have lunch in Coudersport PA on US 6 at Fezz's Diner, a 1954 Silk City Diner. It definitely was a restoration of love, and the diner had originally been in Bethlehem PA, just next door to Allentown. It was a good meal, fun decor, and a great memory refresher.

I also stopped at PA-47 and I-80 at a PA chain, Quaker Steak and Lube. Although not a vintage place, it is a lot of fun and Great Food. I know they are also in other states, but they started in Sharon PA. The kids meals come in cardboard NASCAR cars. There are motorcycles, race cars, and even a very nice 60 Corvette on the hydraulic lift in the Bloomsburg restaurant. If you see a Lube coming up as you drive the roads of America, you owe it to your self to stop in for wings or a Lube Burger. And order the antenna of onion rings or get the hot chips with your entree. It is fun...

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I've eaten at the original QS&L a few times and was at the one in Milford, OH, (near Cincinnati) just a couple of weeks ago. The new restaurants (e.g., Milford & Bloomsburg) are purpose built but the original in Sharon is in an old gas station. The food's pretty good, the beer's always cold, and the decor is superb.

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Excellent description of Al Green's! I lived about a mile from it starting in 1959. I went there for the first time around 1971 as a senior in high school. It was pretty shabby by then, almost deserted. They must have stashed a lot of money away from the good years to allow them to continue like they did, with a low volume of business.

 

Several of my friends are very fond of Al's to this day. One of them was able to take some video before the demolition in the late 90s. I do 3D modelling so I built a model from this video. You can see it, along with my attempt at describing the phenomenon of its success, at:

 

http://www.plainview3d.com/AlGreens/Intro.html

 

I hope you enjoy it. Comments are very welcome.

 

Peter Tocco

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Peter,

All I can say is THANK YOU! Actually "thank you" is no measure of how happy I am to see someone take the time to *finally* document this piece of Indy history the way you have. BRAVO!! When I get home tonight, I'll be planted on your site. This is the coolest thing. I'll be sure to pass this on to my brothers who used to take me there on Friday & Saturday nights back in the 1980's. Thanks again....and I'll probably have more questions & comments for you once I wake up! :lol:

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Chain food stores?? Ah, yes. They really aren't all that new, you know. I joined Uncle Sam's Navy back in 1955 (yeah, I'm an ancient albatross!!!) and I remember one fast food chain that kept us alive on more than one liberty. White Castle and their 12 cent (as I recall) (square) hamburgers!!! When you're only making $30 or so a month as a pay grade E-3 (seaman, fireman, airman) and you have a weekend pass, a half dozen of those hockey pucks for lunch, maybe even dinner, were welcome. LOL :P

 

Happy Travels,

Alex Burr

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As was common in the 1940’s my father worked a 5 and a half day week, working until noon on Saturday. He came home and worked in the yard, then if we were lucky we headed off for Burbank (California) in our 1949 Chev torpedo back sedan to Bob’s Big Boy Drive In and later a movie at the San Val Drive In theater on San Fernando Blvd.

 

The restaurant, which I think still exists, was a combination drive in and sit down affair, but I don’t recall that we ever went inside. We pulled up to an empty stall and ordered our food from the carhop.

 

I may be wrong, but as I recall they wore a red (maybe brown) cowboy hat and neckerchief, and a white blouse. She delivered the food and attached the tray to the top edge of the window, in our case usually on the passenger’s side, as Mom doled out the food. The tray had rubber tipped legs that were adjusted against the outside of the window and secured with a large knob that tightened a slider.

 

Some may think the Big Mac was the first double deck hamburger but Bob's had the original double decker. It was delivered on your window tray in a little white wax paper sack with a Big Boy image on it. It had a French dressing type sauce I still recall and which probably contributed to my preference for French dressing on my salads today.

 

If you needed something, or when you were finished, you blinked your headlights to attract the carhop. It was considered impolite to honk your horn.

 

We raised our own rabbits and chickens and most home cooked meals featured one or the other. A Bob’s double decker cheese burger was the best thing I ever ate, until I was in my early twenties and had a filet mignon at the Domino Club in San Francisco.

 

Keep the Show on the Road!

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I remember my brother and sister working in a restaurant called the Pioneer, I think it was taken over by the Ponderosa. This was early 1980's. I recall my brother Bob having to wear one of those three corner hats which was very amusing. I also have fond memories of the Pioneer Diner (which was a totally separate thing) that we always stopped at on family trips to the Poconos during the 1970's. I think it was along the 611, but I couldn't be sure. They did wonderful fried chicken, I ordered it every time. I loved how it was served in a little red basket. Those simple things that make it so special. :)

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PHOENIX ARIZONA VALLEY OF THE SUN

Weather you are traveling East to West or heading into the sunrise there is a string of PETE'S FISH AND CHIPS across the Valley . This 50+year old chain is one of the last real drive inns in the west.

Out side table dining. They serve their own frozen fish square. Remember your in the middle of Arizona.

The food is good and the price is verry good. ''MONSTER BERGURS RULE'' :P

http://www.petesfishandchips.com/

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PHOENIX ARIZONA VALLEY OF THE SUN

Weather you are traveling East to West or heading into the sunrise there is a string of PETE'S FISH AND CHIPS across the Valley . This 50+year old chain is one of the last real drive inns in the west.

Out side table dining. They serve their own frozen fish square. Remember your in the middle of Arizona.

The food is good and the price is verry good. ''MONSTER BERGURS RULE'' :P

http://www.petesfishandchips.com/

 

Konaboy,

 

Sounds good! Pete's it is... next time I'm in the Phoenix area!

Any other suggestions?

 

Been on any good roads lately? We were in Gila Bend this winter on the Old Spanish Trail (US 80).

 

OBTY, Welcome!!

 

Keep the Show on the Road!

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To follow up for KTSOTR, Bob's Big Boy Burbank is alive & well. They did try to revive the carhop service about 10 years ago but it didn't take. They do have a classic car night each Friday & Jay Leno has been known to stop by & participate. The fiberglass Bob mascot is now chained & bolted at the entrance. He seemed to wander off too much.

 

Was the San Val on San Fernando Rd? Perhaps you remember the drive in on Alameda between Buena Vista & Victory? I can't remember the name. It was replaced by a shopping center in the early 90s. Do you remember the Pickwick bowling alley? That is still alive & kickin'.

 

The Winchell's donut chain is just about gone, I don't see many of those, anymore. Fortunately, in my opinion, a chain called 'Pizza Man He Delivers' is pretty much gone. Neither the donuts or the pizza were something to look forward to.

As far as chain restaurants in upstate New York that are gone, I'm surprised there has been no mention of Carroll's Hamburgers which I believe extended into the New England area. It was a predecessor to McDs. It was my whole family's first exposure to fast food. The owner of this chain sold & converted most of these to Burger Kings in the early 70s. Money talks... Some info is here: http://www.roadfood.com/Forums/topic.asp?TOPIC_ID=1355

 

Another chain that has disappeared was called 'The Red Barn'. I know this chain extended into at least Ohio. It had a 2 piece chicken meal, a side & soft drink for 75 cents in the late 60s. This chain was bought by a large corporation that just didn't know how to run it (just like Stuckey's). There is a website that deals with the Red Barn history & what a number of these buildings are used for now: http://www.barnbuster.net/

 

A twist on the small franchise was the Helm's Bakery Truck (panel wagons) that would drive up & down neighborhoods like Good Humor Ice Cream Truck. The Helm's man would open the back doors to the panel truck & pull out a drawer that seem to pull for 10 feet, filled with all types of donuts. This business died in the early 1970's.

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I remember the Red Barn. There was one just west of Miami St. on the south side of Ireland Rd. in South Bend, Ind., where I grew up. It was the place Dad liked to go, on those rare occasions he picked up dinner. The last time he did that had to be about 1975. Don't believe the building is still there.

 

I have dim memories of a joint further west on Ireland Rd. called Mr. Quick (or Mr. Quick's). I think theirs were the first onion rings I ever ate. Wikipedia says it was a regional chain mostly in Iowa and Illinois.

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To follow up for KTSOTR, Bob's Big Boy Burbank is alive & well. They did try to revive the carhop service about 10 years ago but it didn't take. They do have a classic car night each Friday & Jay Leno has been known to stop by & participate. The fiberglass Bob mascot is now chained & bolted at the entrance. He seemed to wander off too much.

 

Was the San Val on San Fernando Rd? Perhaps you remember the drive in on Alameda between Buena Vista & Victory? I can't remember the name. It was replaced by a shopping center in the early 90s. Do you remember the Pickwick bowling alley? That is still alive & kickin'.

 

Kevin,

 

Yes, I think the Sun Val was on San Fernando. I was 8 or 9 so I don't remember the bowling place.

 

I read somewhere that the Sun Val survived quite a long time.

 

You said your home is near 99 in North LA County. My grandfather describes taking a wagon over what I think is, or was, called the Newhall Cut maybe 90 or 100 years ago. Anything familiar in that name? I have a short movie I took of Gorman about 1963. I bet it has changed a little!

 

Keep the Show on the Road

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Back in the late 40's and early 50's, when I was in grade school, I remember a malt-shop-type diner my parents would take me to. This was on Lemay Ferry Road, in a suburb of St. Louis. It was before a lot of the chains existed (in our area) so choices were pretty much one of a kind. What I remember about this place, besides having good food and being clean, was their name and their "slogan" on a neon sign out in front. There was a tombstone outlined in neon and the words, "Wild's Palace of Poison, eat here if it kills you, we need the money."

 

It has been gone for a long time.

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Back in the late 40's and early 50's, when I was in grade school, I remember a malt-shop-type diner my parents would take me to. This was on Lemay Ferry Road, in a suburb of St. Louis. It was before a lot of the chains existed (in our area) so choices were pretty much one of a kind. What I remember about this place, besides having good food and being clean, was their name and their "slogan" on a neon sign out in front. There was a tombstone outlined in neon and the words, "Wild's Palace of Poison, eat here if it kills you, we need the money."

 

It has been gone for a long time.

 

Les,

 

I think I have eaten at a few of those places....but they didn't warn you on the sign! :lol:

 

Keep the Show on the Road! Dave

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Thought it would be neat to revive this thread.

 

Bob's Big Boy and other "Big Boy" restaurants have obviously shrunken to near oblivion. It was a peculiar approach to franchising with each franchise store having the same floor plan, same basic sign. Well not exactly the same. The sign was setup for a three letter name so if your name was Mortimer you'd have to find anther name to use. In Texas the Big Boy Restaurants were known as "Kips Big Boy." No one knows if there really ever was anyone named KIP. I think they are all gone now.

 

Then there was the Nickerson Farms combination of a Stuckey's, I-HOP, and gas station. Neat looking places but as I recall the chain died in it's first ten years. Know where there are buildings just sitting, but haven't seen an operational one for years.

 

If you are in Oklahoma or the Northern portions of Texas there is a neat chain of stores named Braums. One of the last "fast food" operations where you get a shake or malt made the old fashioned way with real ice cream. But then what should you expect? Braum's is the largest dairy operation in the State of Oklahoma. Braums stores are a bit unique being part fast food operation, part convenience store where you can buy milk, eggs, bread, ice cream, etc.; but no alcohol. It's strictly an old fashioned family store.

 

Haven't seen anyone mention the old "Tastee Freeze" drive-up places. Pretty much a no frills basic burgers and malts from soft serve ice cream operation.

 

And is Hardies still alive anywhere? Seems they tried a comeback several years ago and then died again.

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