Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Hearth & Embers

Nice 1970's shot of the Hearth & Embers Restaurant located inside the Manger Inn.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

The Gondola

1968 exterior shot

1968 interior shot

1981 shot of the exterior mural

Late 70's menu

Business card

1959 ad

1960 ad

1967 ad

1968 ad

1972 ad

1973 ad

1975 ad

"It's like a shortcut to Italy" was the slogan of The Gondola. Located at the intersection of W. Morehead and Wilkinson Blvd, The Gondola opened in 1953 and had an impressive run over the span of four decades. Owned by Steve and Gus Economos, the restaurant featured what they described as an "Italian Old World Atmosphere" and a very traditional Italian menu. They were most famous for their pizza and lasagna as well as their selection of up to 20 different spaghetti sauces. The "Pizza El Greco" - featuring feta and provolone cheeses and oregano - was a popular house specialty.

Sunday, October 16, 2011


These posts have been updated with ads and photos--click on the links below and then scroll to the bottom of each page to see the revisions.

Friday, October 14, 2011

Stork Restaurants **HALL OF FAME EATERIES**

Independence Blvd location

Independence Blvd interior

Freedom Village location

1963 ad

1965 ad

1967 ad

The "Chateaubriand crest"

Interior shots of the Chateaubriand (above three)

1961 letter announcing the third Stork location at Freedom Village

Promo flier for the Stork Freedom Village location (above four pictures)

1959 ad

1962 ad

1968 ad

Throughout the 1950's and '60's, one of the most popular places to eat in Charlotte was The Stork. Owned by Joseph Antoon and Raymond Kaleel, they opened the first Stork on Kings Dr in 1946. They quickly became known for quality food at reasonable prices.

In 1955, they would open what would become their flagship location on Independence Blvd next to the newly opened Charlotte Coliseum and Ovens Auditorium. If you were going to a show at either venue, you most likely were going to The Stork before the event. Frequent Stork guest Arthur Pendleton remembers the Stork on Independence as being more modern compared to other eateries of the day. With the high ceilings and floor-to-ceiling windows and curtains, it had a more open, dramatic feel to it. As you walked in to the dining room, Jerry Shriver was to the left on an elevated platform playing the organ for the diners' enjoyment. Arthur recalls the "Chef's suggestion" section of the menu being the most popular and he routinely ordered the chopped steak with mushroom dressing for the low price of $1.47 (low even by late-1950's standards).

Mirroring the growth and expansion of Charlotte, a third Stork was opened in 1961 at the newly opened Freedom Village. To mirror suburban-tastes, this location would also feature a coffee shop, a dining room just for men eating lunch (the "Esquire Room") and a newly revamped menu featured a wider offering of choices (referred to as "Continental dishes"). This location would also be the only one open on Sundays. In the mid-60's, a fourth eatery was opened called the Chateaubriand Continental Steakhouse. Charcoal steakhouses were hot at the time and the fourth location followed this trend.

The era of the Stork came to a close at the end of the '60's. The Kings Dr location had closed in the mid-60's, and the entire group closed by the end of the decade. Valentino's would open successfully in the old Independence location, and Slugs Rib would open in the Chateaubriand location.

Thanks to Arthur Pendleton for his invaluable memories for this post!

Harrill's Bar-B-Q

1961 photo

1962 photo

1964 photo

1965 ad

1966 ad

1965 ad

The Philadelphia Deli currently resides in the Harrill's building

1959 ad

Harrill's Bar-B-Q was located at 1025 Kings Dr across from the current location of CMC. It opened in 1955 and was owned by Albert Cleveland "Tab" Harrill. Before opening this location, he co-owned the Chick-R-Pig which was located across the street and down from Harrill's. Harrill's, like most eateries of this era, featured both interior seating as well as car-hop service. Its speciality was Western-style barbecue cooked over a charcoal pit. They also had a full menu of sandwiches, burgers, steaks, and chicken. Harrill's would run into the late-60's. For the last 30 years, the Philadelphia Deli has occupied the original Harrill's building.

Monday, October 10, 2011

Do-Nut Dinette

Phil's Dinette 1970's

All American Diner - Late '80's (courtesy of B. Baldwin)

Great photo ad from 1948. There are some of these still in operation in America, but all of the Charlotte locations are long gone. One Charlotte location (Central and The Plaza) would become the popular Phil's Dinette through the 1970's and later the All-American Diner.

Monday, October 3, 2011

Shoney's Big Boy Drive-Ins **HALL OF FAME EATERIES**

Shoney's #1 on Morehead St (1959 - 1979)

1962 saw the opening of a second location

By 1965, there were three locations

Close-up of the previous ad---not only are they perched on the sign, but how cool are those masks they are holding?

One of the hottest places to go in the '60's in Charlotte was the Shoney's Drive-In. The first one opened in 1959 on Morehead St in a building previously housed by the Borden Ice Cream Co. The second location (Shoney's #2) opened in 1962 on The Plaza and the third location opened on Independence Blvd just east of the Charlotte Coliseum in 1965. Many other locations would be added in the '70's, but the three original locations were widely considered the best and most symbolic for the era.

Marketing these locations involved an ad campaign that used area Charlotte students photographed at the three different locations from 1961-1968. Not only are the ads very interesting, but they give a great glimpse into the decor and ambiance of the restaurants.