This is the first post in a series that will highlight matchbooks from my collection that advertise restaurants, hotels and motels. I will try to keep a theme and limit it to five spots per post to make it easier to dig through later. Some of these places will be once-popular spots and others long forgotten.
1. Denver Drumstick Restaurants – Denver, Colorado
Denver Drumstick Restaurants were a chain of chicken restaurants around Denver, Colorado that specialized in chicken and miniature railroads.
There was an electric American Flyer railroad that would travel around the dining room in a panorama that resembled scenes around Colorado.
The train theme was strong. One of the takeout orders was called the “Boxcar,” it was 14 pieces of Chicken or shrimp, french fried potatoes, real chicken gravy, Texas toast and clover served in a box in the shape of a boxcar.
There is a lot of nostalgia about Denver Drumstick but not a lot of information. I know it was around as early as 1956 but I don’t know the year they opened or closed. Let me know if you know have any information.
Although this matchbook shows only two locations, at one point there were five restaurants open:
6801 W. Colfax
1490 S. Colorado Blvd.
6301 E. Colfax Ave.
4905 S. Santa Fe Drive
7400 N. Federal Blvd.
I will continue to investigate this place and update as I get information.
2. Jake Walker’s Chicken ‘n Chips – Tampa, Florida
This one has proven to be an absolute mystery. I have done a lot of digging and cannot find much information about Jake Walker’s Fish ‘n Chips.
There were two locations: 3423 Dale Mabry Highway and 1032 E. Hillsboro Avenue in Tampa, Florida.
It appears that at least one of the location was open as early as 1954 and probably opened earlier than that. It’s possible that it goes as far back as 1949.
The inside of the matchbook states that Chicken-n-Chips has: “Delightful Air Conditioned Dining Rooms or Sheltered Stalls for Curb Service in Your Car.”
It appears that Chicken ‘n Chips did last too far past the 1950s as almost all references stop around 1959.
I found one series of photos from a Facebook group devoted to Tampa memories but that’s about it.
3. Aunt Hattie’s Chicken in the Woodpile – St. Petersburg, Florida
ST. PETERSBURG — For Anne McEwen, there was more to Aunt Hattie’s Restaurant than plates smothered with creamed chicken and dumplings.
Aunt Hattie’s first was a hamburger hot spot, established in 1939 by Ed and Hattie Boore. It evolved into a landmark for home-cooked food and offbeat promotions.
By the mid 1940s, Hattie’s had increased its seating from 16 to 42. The building was razed in 1950, except for the kitchen, and replaced with a 160-seat restaurant. Five years later, a reception room and gift shop were added.
Ed died in 1962, and Hattie moved to California. In 1965, Frank and his assistant Christine Poppell had a roof, shutters and 50 more seats installed. The kitchen was spared again and remodeled.
“I guess I’m a little superstitious, a little sentimental,” Frank said.
Hattie’s featured hash, chicken in the woodpile (French fries and fried chicken), and unusual attractions.
Frank advertised shares in an Alaskan totem pole and sold antiques in his parking lot. He paid 5 cents in 1970 for every political sign brought into Hattie’s. “We got thousands of posters and helped beautify the city,” said Frank, 76, who now purchases antiques.
In 1970, Hattie’s named Ross Giunta its general manager and opened Uncle Ed’s Restaurant one block away. By 1979, Giunta had purchased controlling interest in Hattie’s, and his $250,000 investment helped Hattie’s battle a withering tourist trade and escalating coffee prices. But in 1980, a rodent from a University of South Florida construction site came calling.
“I felt as though a needle was going through my (middle) toe,” said Marilyn Mindon, who was wearing sandals and dining when the rat struck. “His back legs were dragging.”
As stunned customers watched, Mindon’s father stomped the rat to death, wrote Paul Tash, now editor and president of the St. Petersburg Times. The incident gained nationwide attention; Hattie’s lost 75 percent of its business.
By 1985, Hattie’s Clearwater bakery and warehouse were sold, and the county placed the restaurant on probation for structural problems.
Then came Hurricane Elena in the fall of the same year. “We had 6 feet of water in the restaurant,” said Giunta, 63, who has saved thousands of Hattie’s recipes. “It was a real catastrophe. We never reopened.”
In 1986, Chase Bank of Florida foreclosed a $135,000 mortgage on Hattie’s equipment and antiques. The city purchased the property and donated it to USF. The restaurant was leveled about 1988; Hattie died a year later in Farmington, N.M.
Special thanks to the St. Petersbug Times for information.
4. Phillips Original Chicken Pie Shop – Long Beach, California
The fondness for potpie continues, nowhere more so than at Phillips’, “Home of the Chicken Pie.” Phillips’ comes from a long lineage that dates back to 1934 and the Chicken Pie Shop at 737 Pine Avenue in downtown Long Beach.
As Don Phillips tells it, he bought the Pie Shop 40 years ago and eventually put the family name on it. When he took over in 1960, the place was a 200-plus-seat eatery charging all of 90 cents for complete dinners.
In 1962, Phillips opened a second location at 730 Pacific called the “Go Shop” that was more of an in-and-out place akin to fast food and had take-out pies as well.There were essentially pie shops.
UPDATE (10/15/2016): This was just posted a few days ago but I found another Phillips matchbook in my collection. I apparently left out several more locations in the original post.
As you can see there were two locations of the restaurants – the original location at Pine Ave. and another one in Westminster at 13922 Golden West. There were also TWO Go Shops Pie Shops. The one mentioned at 730 Pacific Avenue and a second one at 13936 Seal Beach Blvd.
Sometime in the ’80s, Phillips sold the restaurant interest, then at its present location in a Seal Beach strip mall near Leisure World.
5. Topsy’s Restaurant No. 2 – San Francisco, California
This one has proven to be tougher than I thought. The original Topsy’s Roost is something of a legend. There is not nearly enough time, space or ephemera in my collection to do Topsy’s Roost justice.
This write up by Pdxhistory.com tells the story with wonderful postcards and great ephemera.
Located at 2274 Lombard St. in San Francisco, Topsy’s Roost No. 2 must not have been be around very long as information is almost non-existent.
I seriously doubt that there was any affiliation between this place and the original.
Topsy’s Roost No.2 served breakfast, lunch and din-din in a southern style. It’s gone now. A place called Home Plate is at the address.