A Valentine with soul (food)

Created with Nokia Smart Cam

As we drove by this place in Colorado Springs last month I realized I was looking at a vintage Valentine diner, a prefabricated building type made in Wichita, Kansas. Later I went back and took the photo of it shown here.

One thing about diners, they have so many fans that they have been well documented. On the Valentine diner website, I learned that this was a Little Chef model produced in the late 1950s. This particular Little Chef has had many owners and proprietors since its debut in Colorado Springs.


In my postcard collection I have another Valentine diner, Paul’s Café in Smith Center KS, operated in the 1950s by Paul Manchester and his wife Gleam. The section on the left appears to be Valentine’s late 1940s-early 1950s Economy Sandwich Shop model which contained a counter with only eight stools. It was evidently expanded with a dining room section, shifting the entrance to the red door in the middle. The awnings probably were not original to the design.


Subsequently Paul’s Cafe was remodeled in buff brick, losing its smooth, slick metal factory-built look but perhaps becoming more functional.  A similar fate has befallen many a diner.

© Jan Whitaker, 2014


Filed under diners

8 responses to “A Valentine with soul (food)

  1. Fat Clamenza

    I meant to say prior, I posted this link in this commentary because I could not enable email (on my end) to this Blogger. 🙂

  2. Fat Clamenza

    Neat blog this. I’ve been reading for a while. Anyway, here are pics of a pre-soviet late-czar era Russian restauranteur and his place. Enjoy.

    Paste this into any common search engine for internet peace-of-mind:


    • Interesting, but there must be much more to the story. It looks like a spa or an amusement park. And also it appears that a religious service is being held in the dining room.

  3. Great post about prefab diner buildings. It’s been my long-time fantasy to restore one and convert it into a house. Somewhere small and tidy with all the amenities for easy living and entertaining in my golden years! Wouldn’t it be great if some visionary could design a whole village out of re-purposed diners?

  4. Chris Egan

    Pretty cool. There is a blog you may enjoy, “Diner Hunter”, he primarily does the East Coast, also had a Facebook page too. http://dinerhunter.com/

  5. Henry Voigt

    Good “field work” Jan!

  6. SpiseBjorn

    Jan, I love your blog, the topics you choose, and the way you write. Keep it up!!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.