From the Vault: Restaurant Week

coffee-room_adolphus_tea-and-coffee-trade-journal_march-1919_photoThe Adolphus lunch counter awaits…

by Paula Bosse

I’ve been a bit too busy to write anything recently, so I’ve taken the lazy way out and posted links to old posts on my Facebook and Twitter feeds. This week I’ve shared links of Flashback Dallas posts on a theme: restaurants (and a bar…). I enjoyed reading them again — you might, too. Here are they are.


“THE ADOLPHUS HOTEL’S ‘COFFEE ROOM’ — 1919” (from 2018)

Take a look at the Adolphus Lunch Room (and its cuspidor) in the photo above. This was at a time when the world was about to have to readjust to life during Prohibition — bars were out, coffee and tea rooms were in.

After sharing this photo on Facebook — a photo from 1919 — a reader commented that it pre-dated Prohibition (the national crackdown came in January 1920). But Dallas County had voted to go “dry” in October 1917, jumping the gun before most other places. But only Dallas County. In 1917, the surrounding counties were wide open, and bars just across the county line were more than eager to take gobs of money from the flood of Dallas’ beer- and whiskey-seekers, while prim and proper Dallas teetotalers (who apparently really knew how to get the vote out) sipped daintily on their tea and coffee. Before Prohibition went into effect in Dallas (Oct. 21, 1917) there were 183 bars listed in the city directory — the following year, there were none. I wrote about a poor guy who went into the bar business in Big D at exactly the wrong dang time.

“THE 101 BAR: PATRICK HANNON, PROP. — ca. 1917” (2016)




Lunch ladies, school menus, tongue salad. The school menu in the 1920s and ’30s was loaded with unusual and/or unappetizing “food.”




Read about the long-lived Roth’s, which opened in Oak Cliff along Fort Worth Avenue around 1940 by a Hungarian immigrant who had a very, very interesting family.



“ROSS GRAVES’ CAFE: 1800 JACKSON — 1947” (2021)

Cafe owner Ross Graves was a busy, busy man. Check out this post about his active and “swellegant” career.



“‘CARHOPS’ — A SHORT DOCUMENTARY, ca. 1974” (2015)

You can’t have “Restaurant Week” without mentioning the fabulous drive-ins. I encourage everyone reading this to watch the short documentary linked in this post (it’s a mere 14 minutes long!). “Carhops” was filmed in the early 1970s and contains interviews with J. D. Sivils (Sivils), Jack Keller (Keller’s), and B. J. Kirby (owner of Kirby’s Steakhouse, and son of drive-in entrepreneur Jesse Kirby who founded what many consider the very first drive-in — with the very first carhops — the Pig Stand). Watching this wonderful piece of cultural history, I am reminded how much I continue to grieve the loss of the once-common, so-thick-it-hurts Dallas accent. RIP, twang.



Sources & Notes

See each original post for image credits.

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