As the restaurant world turned, July 17


July 17 being the anniversary of my blog, I’m celebrating. In the beginning I thought a blog would be so easy. I’d browse over my notes, grab a few things, and write a post in half an hour. Hah! That was approximately true of the first few posts — one of which I’ve revised repeatedly and another of which I’ve deleted. In memory of that happy delusion I present a quick rundown of restaurant happenings on random July 17ths.

1890 – Waiters walking off the job close down three more restaurants as they join a St. Louis waiters’ strike. The Waiters’ Union is further heartened when it learns that members of the city’s Typographical Union have pledged not to eat anywhere non-union servers are employed.

July17Clamshellpearl1907 – A Bangor ME restaurant worker grinding clams for chowder runs into a hard substance which turns out to be a pearl. She rejects a local jeweler’s offer of $250 ($5,000 or $6,000 today) saying she will instead send it to New York for appraisal.

1916 – Taylor’s Exchange Restaurant opens in a new building in Charleston SC promising there will be “no odors” since the kitchen is upstairs from the dining room. Taylor signs his advertisement, “I remain, Yours When Hungry.”

1930 – Despite his claims that he does not run a “booze joint” and had no idea liquor was hidden in his lunchroom’s walls, a judge fines the operator of Holyoke MA’s Washington Lunch $150.

1936 – Admitting she only took a restaurant job to escape “that darn farm” in Florida where she grew up, an Atlanta waitress announces she has won a scholarship to Louisiana State and will be quitting to study music there.


1950 – Fifteen members of the Washington, D.C. Interracial Workshop are arrested for holding up the line at Sholl’s Cafeteria after Afro-Americans in the group are denied service.

July17Embassymgr1958 – Although she has been threatened with bodily harm, Beverly Sturdevant, a manager of the Embassy Restaurant in Cicero IL, testifies against mobsters inside Local 450 of the Chicago Hotel and Restaurant Employes Union to the US Senate Rackets Investigating Committee.

1962 – “Reverse Freedom Rider” David Harris announces he will open a barbecue and chili restaurant in Hyannis MA, summer home of the Kennedys. Harris arrived a few months earlier with a busload of Afro-Americans sent North by an Arkansas segregationist Citizens’ Council. The action was meant to embarrass President John F. Kennedy, who had recently taken a harder line on segregation.

© Jan Whitaker, 2013


Filed under miscellaneous

7 responses to “As the restaurant world turned, July 17

  1. Happy Anniversary! I just found your blog today while surfing some research about the 1910s, and of course got sucked into reading about a whole lot of extra restaurant history. Thank you for sharing so much great information!

  2. Happy Anniversary! Thank you for an always insightful, informative and entertaining blog :).

  3. Wonderfully nostalgic Blog, Jan. Thank you for it.
    As soon as I saw the women on line, I thought of Sholl’s Cafeteria before even seeing the name over the door. As a college student in D.C. in the sixties it warranted a twice weekly hike from campus to get the great “homemade” food and fresh pies at extremely cheap prices. We had fun guessing what state the kids were from as they swarmed off buses on their high school class trips. Indiana, New Jersey, New York, Ohio, North and South Carolina…I was rarely wrong.

  4. Cathi

    Happy Birthday!! I love this site, and I love when I get an email with a new blog post!!!!

  5. Happy Anniversary! I am having much the same experience, except that I’m much further back on the learning curve. In fact, I wish you had mentioned something about it getting to be much easier after five years.

  6. Happy Anniversary! I love your blog and receiving your posts in my in-box. As a blogger myself, I appreciate the time and research you put into your posts. Thank you for your labor of love!
    Phyllis in Michigan

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