Scenes From a Few Vintage Restaurants

Saturday, January 07, 2017
Porpoise Room Cocktail Lounge, Marineland Of The Pacific, California
Have you ever noticed how the inside of virtually every restaurant today, especially nationwide chains, all kind of look the same? One of my favorite restaurants in my area is one that used to be a Howard Johnson's back in the day, and while the interior has been updated, it's quite beautiful, modern, and unique compared to so many other places in the suburbs. A few months back I did a search for "vintage restaurants" on Flickr and ended up falling down a rabbit hole of mid-century design eye candy. The photos I uncovered reminded me of a couple of now-defunct restaurants I went to as a kid. Although some of these places may be tacky by today's standards, at least no one can say they weren't original.

Most of these came from Flickr users William Bird and SwellMap; they have plenty more where these came from (including a ton of great old travel images) so check out their pages sometime if you desire more. In the meantime, let's take a trip back in time to the '50s, '60s, and '70s when many restaurants (and there's some lounges in here as well) had their own unique theme and look...

El Toro Steak House, Trenton, Ontario

Everglades Roof, Miami, FL

Rubaiyat Continental Dining, Ann Arbor, MI

Manning's Cafeteria and Buffet, Seattle, WA

Marineland of the Pacific, California

The cocktail lounge at the Mountain Shadows Hotel, Scottsdale, AZ

Christmas at Mrs. K's Toll House, Silver Springs, MD

Castaways Wreck Bar, Miami, FL

Le Palais, Atlantic City, NJ

Michelle of the Denver Hilton, "Bridge In the Sky" -- this restaurant was located on the bridge in between the Denver Hilton and the May D&F department store, and sold Michelle's ice cream and pastries. In Denver, CO (obviously.)

Howard Johnson's on the Pennsylvania Turnpike, PA

Purple Tree Manger Vanderbilt Hotel, New York, NY

Trott Inn Restaurant, Philadelphia, PA

Swiss Chalet, Bismarck Hotel, Chicago, IL

Canfield's Big Rock Cafe, Malibu, CA

The Clipper Room, Yankee Clipper, Fort Lauderdale, FL

Dutch Youngman's Famous Drive-In Restaurant, Monterey, CA

The Acapulco Room, South Of The Border, SC

King's Arms Tavern, Williamsburg, VA

The Ramada Inn Coffee Shop, Los Angeles Airport, CA

Bush Garden Japanese Restaurant, Seattle, WA

Jacques French Restaurant, Chicago, IL

So. Many. Plants.

If this post brought back memories of an unforgettable restaurant, please let me know in the comments!


  1. How cool!! Great pics, sure would love to go back in time & visit some of these!

    1. Agreed! I think I'd like to visit that Purple Tree lounge.

  2. Look up the Madonna inn, San Luis Obispo. It still looks like the '50s.

  3. Pam, this post makes want to whip out that old Diner's Club card!!

  4. Speaking of vintage restaurants, Pam, are there actually any higher class restaurants in these sloppy-pig times where people are still expected to dress nicely and not show up to eat in sandals, shorts and Tshirts? I wonder, because I don't live in a major metro area with much upscale dining. Are there restaurants with dress codes standards in New York still? People would probably bitch to the ADA and the NAACP if they were turned away from an expensive eatery for not being half-way decently dressed. Any ideas or observations on this? If so, please write another blog like the one where you said people are dressing like hobos in public. I loved it!

  5. Vintage is thing that I like most. I personally liked Dutch Youngman's Famous Drive-In Restaurant, Monterey, CA by seeing the pic. I want to ask is that restaurant still open. If it is than I will visit for sure.

    What's Up Monterey


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