Old Department Store Restaurants

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teresaslo

Old Department Store Restaurants

Post by teresaslo » 26 Mar 2007 00:21

If I remember Bullocks had a Cafeteria or restaurant in it as well. My bestfriends Mom used to take us shopping there and lunch...they served alcohol there as well for her Mom drank her lunch...Martini's on top of that.

I really like the idea of restaurants in department stores. The only one I know of now is Nordstroms in Santa Barbara, CA. Any others? ugh the 60's.

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Department Store Restaurants

Post by OCRedCub » 26 Mar 2007 01:00

Most Nordstrom locations here in Orange County have a full service restaurant.
Bullocks and Buffums both had tea rooms in their stores. The Macy's in South Coast Plaza (which was once a Bullocks - I THINK) has a Wolfgang Pucks located in the store. As does the Macy's flagship on Union Square in SF (with a food court on the lower level, as I recall). Macy's flagship in Hawaii (Ala Moana) had two full service restaurants last I visited - the Pineapple Room and Hackfelds. Nieman Marcus locations also typically have restaurants.
I, too, miss the era of Department Store Restaurants!

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Post by Jeff » 26 Mar 2007 19:59

Macys Pasadena (Former Bullocks) had a tea room up until a few years ago.

Side note: All Broadway stores built prior to the 80's had restaurants. I remember them in Riverside, Puente Hills and Pasadena

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Post by rich » 26 Mar 2007 22:14

Suburban stores began to shed these in the 70s and early 80s. Second tier markets never had them in the 'burbs or even in many downtown stores. They probably only made sense in the heyday of downtown stores in the largest of cities. In big city stores like the one where I worked, there was an employee cafeteria, a fast service place with sandwiches, an ice cream parlor, and a nice mid-priced "tea room". You could run most of those out of a central kitchen and make enough profit to subsidize the employees. In a suburban mall, there wouldn't be enough volume to do better than breaking even.

The larger early strip centers and the early malls usually had at least one mid-priced sit down restaurants, and occasionally a very nice one. Now these are a rarity.

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Post by hushpuppy212 » 28 Mar 2007 19:02

I am currently in Asia, and the department stores in Singapore, Taiwan and Japan put ours to shame. The restaurants are full-service, and quite elaborate. It is not uncommon to have an entire floor devoted to many unique restaurants, with different cuisines and styles. Plus the fact the stores themselves are truly full-line operations with everything you would need or want, unlike the stripped-down department stores, carrying mostly soft-lines, that we now have in the US.

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Post by buckhead » 29 Mar 2007 12:04

rich wrote:Suburban stores began to shed these in the 70s and early 80s. Second tier markets never had them in the 'burbs or even in many downtown stores. They probably only made sense in the heyday of downtown stores in the largest of cities. In big city stores like the one where I worked, there was an employee cafeteria, a fast service place with sandwiches, an ice cream parlor, and a nice mid-priced "tea room". ...
This is to a large degree true. Robinson's in Orlando Fashion Square had a full-service restaurant on the second story into the 80's. As time progressed they progressively scaled it back and finally eliminated it entirely. I am not sure what it was like when it first opened, but I did eat there a few times prior to its closure. I believe Burdine's in the same mall may have had some sort of food operation at the same time. Down East Colonial Drive a bit, the rather aged Colonial Plaza had a Jordan Marsh and Belk Lindsey store, but I think that neither of them ever had regular restaurants because of the contractual arrangement the shopping center developer made with the owner of Ronnie's Restaurant whereby he had the exclusive rights to food concessions on the property.

Downtown stores for Rich's and Davison's in Atlanta both had an assortment of eating facilities, from the snack backs, to the teas rooms, and even more extensive restaurants at one time. Rich's in particular was rather famous for its Magnolia Room and for the snack bars and limited service facilities on its bridge levels connecting the older "store for fashion" with the newer "store for homes" portions of its downtown location. Many of the older suburban stores for both chains also had snack bars at the very least.

The downtown (and only) location for Michael Brothers in Athens, Georgia had a small restaurant on the ground floor underneath the mezzanine, which was later removed and replaced by a shoe department. I remember this place well. The porthole windowed doors to the kitchen were still in place well into the 70's. I believe it continued to operate after the takeover by Davison-Paxon (later Davison's and always a unit of R. H Macy). Even until the closure of that location as a department store, there was still at least a minimal food retailing presence in the form of a snack back on one of the upper floor. When the store closed/relocated to Georgia Square Mall around 1980, they did not offer food service.

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Post by Groceteria » 29 Mar 2007 12:15

The flagship Belk store in Charlotte's SouthPark Mall had an independently-operated cafeteria on its second floor until the 1990s. I believe the downtown Charlotte store also had one and it may have also had a snack bar/grill.

Meyer's (unit of Allied Stores) in downtown Greensboro NC had two restaurants, one full-service and the other more of a snack bar/sandwich shop. This store closed in 1978.

The Belk store in downtown Greensboro had no restaurant, but it did have a pass-through to the adjacent S&W Cafeteria. Both closed about 1975. I have a sneaking suspicion that the Belk (or Leggett) store in Roanoke VA may have had a similar set-up with its adjacent S&W.

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Post by Dave » 29 Mar 2007 18:20

Groceteria wrote:...The Belk store in downtown Greensboro had no restaurant, but it did have a pass-through to the adjacent S&W Cafeteria. Both closed about 1975. I have a sneaking suspicion that the Belk (or Leggett) store in Roanoke VA may have had a similar set-up with its adjacent S&W.
The Miller & Rhoads in Willow Lawn Shopping Center in Richmond shared a free-standing building with a S&W, but there wasn't a pass-through as I recall.

The downtown Richmond Miller & Rhoads was renowned for its Tea Room, and it also had a pretty nice lunch counter/coffee shop. Thalhimers had the Men's Oyster Bar on a mezzanine above the Grace Street entrance and it was a big deal when it was invaded by and opened to women patrons back in the late 1960's/early 1970's. I don't recall Thalhimers having a full-service restuarant downtown, but they did have the Sword & Kilt in their Cloverleaf Mall store and pretty nice bakeries/prepared food/gourmet departments downtown and at Westmoreland Center. Golden Skillet fried chicken got its start as a takeout counter at Thalhimers Westmoreland. The downtown Thalhimers also had a coffee shop in the basement which was eventually converted into banks of vending machines and a takeout counter for Angelo's (The Original Hot Dog King), which was sort of a Richmond institution.

The Higbees at Midway Mall in Elyria, Ohio had a full-service restuarant that was pretty nice. My grandfather was a widower for many years and ate there quite often as he could get a full meal with a choice of vegetables and didn't have to diddle with a cafeteria or salad bar.

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Jordan Marsh Colonial Plaza Orlando

Post by dooneyt63 » 29 Mar 2007 18:26

In fact, the Jordan Marsh at Colonial Plaza in Orlando did have a full-service restaurant with a liquor license. I ate there during the store's going out of business sale at the time the Maas Brothers/Jordan Marsh stores were being consolidated into Burdines at the time of the Allied/Federated merger. It appeared at the time (early 1990's) to have been there for many years. The food was wonderful even then; the cocktails were generous, and it made for a fantastic memory of a once-great store.

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Post by Groceteria » 29 Mar 2007 19:04

Dave wrote:Golden Skillet fried chicken got its start as a takeout counter at Thalhimers Westmoreland.
Funny you should mention that, because I'd meant to include the strange little Golden Skillet counter within the Friendly Center Thalhimer's in Greensboro in my earlier post.

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Post by GreenFalcon » 29 Mar 2007 19:12

teresaslo wrote:I really like the idea of restaurants in department stores. The only one I know of now is Nordstroms in Santa Barbara, CA. Any others? ugh the 60's.
The Modesto, CA Gottschalks still has an operating restaurant leftover from Weinstocks. The menu and decor remain mostly untouched from how Weinstocks operated the space.

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Post by runchadrun » 29 Mar 2007 19:42

As has been posted in other threads, Bullock's Westwood had a tea room at the top of the store with a separate entrance and parking lot which was the roof the main department store. The main store was subdivided into a Ralphs Fresh Fare, Expo Design Center, and Best Buy while the tea room became a Longs Drugs though it won't be around for much longer. They are having a store closing sale right now.

A few miles away at the Westside Pavilion, the May Company store had a Good Earth restaurant carved out of the corner of the store at the corner of Pico and Overland. The Northridge earthquake caused heavy damage to the store which closed the restaurant and it became regular store space. I don't know if it started out as a May Co. restaurant and became a Good Earth or what.

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Post by Dean » 29 Mar 2007 22:57

runchadrun wrote:As has been posted in other threads, Bullock's Westwood had a tea room at the top of the store with a separate entrance and parking lot which was the roof the main department store. The main store was subdivided into a Ralphs Fresh Fare, Expo Design Center, and Best Buy while the tea room became a Longs Drugs though it won't be around for much longer. They are having a store closing sale right now.
Yes indeed, that LONGS is cool. It maintained the tea room atmosphere...including the skylights. I wondered how long that LONGS was going to make it...as it didn't seem to have much business.

Was the tea room the entire area that has been LONGS?

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Re: Jordan Marsh Colonial Plaza Orlando

Post by buckhead » 30 Mar 2007 00:05

dooneyt63 wrote:In fact, the Jordan Marsh at Colonial Plaza in Orlando did have a full-service restaurant with a liquor license.
Do you recall where in the store the restaurant was located...was it up on the third or fourth floor? I need to jog my memory since I left the area in 1991. I'm glad your corrected my faulty statement. I really liked that store. It was old but had some nice features. It amazed me how just a few years before I left they built a brand new department store on one end (Ivey's...later Dillard's)...a beautiful store...then tore it down a few years later.

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Post by runchadrun » 30 Mar 2007 01:11

Dean wrote:Yes indeed, that LONGS is cool. It maintained the tea room atmosphere...including the skylights. I wondered how long that LONGS was going to make it...as it didn't seem to have much business.
It's a very poor location with no street visibility short of a street-level sign and a long walk up a steep ramp for any pedestrians, or try to find the elevator. With a Rite Aid, two CVS stores (one a former Savon), and Ralphs in Westwood there was already a lot of competition. Longs is also closing a few other underperforming locations in Socal.

According to the Times article on the 1951 opening of the store, it was called the Lotus Tearoom: "The two side and center panels are executed on gold leaf background with mat finish oil paing applied to large-scale plant forms 'to create the feeling of the sunlit, humid atmosphere of equatorial climes.' Natie women lotus weavers are represented by five-foot figures preparing for a festival. Teapots, creamers, sugar bowls, and pepper mills carry out the native theme."

This is an architect's rendering of the store. The tea room area is the part sticking out of the rooof on the left.
http://jpg2.lapl.org/pics22/00045714.jpg

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