I still have fond memories of the lunch counters at those five and dime stores! The one pictured here in 1988 was at theKresge’s store on Coxwell Avenue in Toronto close to my present day neighbourhood:
My mother haunted the Kresge, Metropolitan,WoolworthandZellers stores in downtown London, Ontario and I was usually in tow. I didn’t mind as I could peruse Great Garloo andthe Aurora monster model kits in the toy department, the goldfish, budgies and little turtles in the pet department andthe bulk candies. The coup de grace though was alwayshitting her up for a bowl of ice cream at one of the lunch counters, usually at the Kresge storebut sometimes in Metropolitan. I remember the ice cream being served in a stainless steel dish with a cardboard insert.
The lunch counter at the Met store in downtown London was so popular that they even had a satellite take-out counter at the front of the store from which businessmen could grab a quick cheeseburger, hot dog, french fries, donut or coffee.
And Woolworth had neapolitan ice cream sandwiches that they made up between two wafers fresh before your very eyes for only fifteen cents, which was something I could fund for myself by high school after looking through the records at the Disc Shop right across from the new Woolworth store in the downtown Wellington Square Mall!
Unfortunately, all the Kresge andWoolworthstores in Toronto, Hamilton and London closed by themid-nineties. The downtown Bay store in Toronto still had a basement level restaurant consisting of a multiple U-shaped lunch counter up until about twelve years ago. I think it was called the Flamingo or something up until the mid-nineties when it was moved to the other side of the store. That too thoughis sadly gone.
Does anyone else have fond memories of department store lunch counters? What did you like to order?
And do any still exist in your neck of the woods, either in department stores or ones with an identical feel elsewhere?