Sand Dollar Restaurant – St. Petersburg, Florida

Located at 2401 34th St., South in St. Petersburg, Florida, the Sand Dollar Restaurant featured dining, dancing, a rotating Merry-Go-Round lounge and a dining room in a garden setting called The Garden Room that seated 250 people. The Sand Dollar opened on April 2, 1962. Restaurateur John Dahlberg envisioned a  restaurant that would emphasize moderately-pricedContinue reading “Sand Dollar Restaurant – St. Petersburg, Florida”

Red Apple Restaurant – Walla Walla, Washington

For more than five decades, the Red Apple Restaurant served patrons at all hours in downtown Walla Walla, Washington. After years of semi-neglect and mismanagement, the Red Apple closed in late 1999. In 1948 the a new restaurant was opened at #57 (E. Main St. in downtown Walla Walla). The cafe and fountain, dubbed theContinue reading “Red Apple Restaurant – Walla Walla, Washington”

Minuet Manor Motel & Restaurant – Altoona, Pennsylvania

I’m back! After a very prolonged absence to due a dog bite, a kidney stone, travel and working on some other exciting projects I am ready to get back to it! Located on Route 220 between Altoona and Tyrone, Pennsylvania, the Minuet Manor Motel and Restaurant opened in the mid-late 1950s (cannot find an exactContinue reading “Minuet Manor Motel & Restaurant – Altoona, Pennsylvania”

Horn & Hardart Automats in Philadelphia

Horn & Hardart opened their first automat on June 9, 1902. The history of these restaurants and its impact on Philadelphia is beautifully captured in an article by Dr. Stephen Nepa in The Encyclopedia of Greater Philadelphia. The following section is from that 2013 article: Beloved by generations of diners and immortalized in art, song, cinema,Continue reading “Horn & Hardart Automats in Philadelphia”

The Smorgasphere™

The rotary Smorgasphere™ was intended to revolutionize the concept of smorgasbords. The Smorgasphere™ was intended to keep food fresh and hot with a rotating buffet. The Smorgasphere™ was intended to bring the future to the late 1960s. The Smorgasphere™ was the future. In 1966, Donald Wulff, owner of Don’s Colonial House restaurant in Manteno, Illinois came up withContinue reading “The Smorgasphere™”

Mechanafe – Boise, Idaho

WHERE THE WORLD MEETS TO EAT 100% Waiterless Restaurant It’s Electrical It’s Fascinating It’s Sanitary It’s Beautiful It’s Mechanical It’s Novelty It’s Progress It’s The Show Place of Idaho These words appeared on the back of a 1941 postcard advertising Boise, Idaho’s only mechanical cafe cleverly dubbed the Mechanafe. For more than a decade, theContinue reading “Mechanafe – Boise, Idaho”

Merry-Go-Round Cafes

In 1930 a chain of “revolutionary”cafes opened in the West. Gustav and Gertrude Kramm’s idea of an cafe that served food on a rotating conveyor belt would be a smash hit and fade away in a short time. The very first Merry-Go-Round Cafe location opened on January 1, 1930 at 245 East First Street in Long Beach, California RevolvingContinue reading “Merry-Go-Round Cafes”

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