VANCOUVER WOULD BE COOLER IF #237 | If It Had More “Horseshoe” Lunch Counters

July 2, 2014.

the-only

by Andrew Morrison | A couple of years ago I was reminded of the enduring attractiveness of horseshoe-shaped lunch counters while exploring the hot messes that were the interiors of The Only (the once legendary restaurant with the spectacular sea horse neon signage) and The Logger’s Social Club directly above it. Both establishments were in shocking states of disrepair, but the integrity and beauty of their once bustling lunch counters was still plainly obvious…

Just the way they were shaped – to allow for omnipresent service and customer interaction (chairs bolted to the ground) – tickles my fancy to this day. Of course, Vancouver used to boast well over a dozen eateries that showcased seating in this style (eg. The Aristocratic), the most impressive among them being the beautifully stark cafeteria in the old Waterfront Station building (see below)…

Lunch-Counter

As to why the style went out of fashion is a mystery to me. Perhaps it has something to do with maximizing a dining room’s seating capacity, or maybe it’s about the increasingly anti-social nature of the modern, smartphone-wielding customer who doesn’t want to see or talk to anyone or be seen to be dining alone. But if that were true, why are communal tables so popular today? Horseshoe lunch counters and communal tables are essentially the same thing, except the former affords customers a little more personal space (in front) and allows for much better service (in between). Did restaurant designers simply forget about them? What ever the truth of it may be, I’d like to see more.

4549516747_ac16c19357_z

The only complete horseshoe lunch counter that I know of that currently serves customers in Vancouver is the one inside Acme Cafe at 51 West Hastings (above). I say “complete” horseshoe because there are others that are broken up at the apex by a service station (I’m thinking of Moderne Burger on the West Side). It’s only four years old, which is to say that the style is still practical, even in the age of wifi. Alas, contrary to today’s norm, you’ll find no signal inside. Nor will you find an outlet to power your laptop. Owner Peggy Hoffman explains that this is by design to encourage customers to interact with one another. “So many relationships have started right here,” she told me proudly this afternoon while motioning to her lunch counter. It draws a lot of single diners, she added. “Once it’s full, you can’t tell who’s single any more.”

MORE CIVIC IMPROVEMENTS

#ScoutThis

There are 3 comments

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Cool Things We Want What we dig, covet, and dream...

VANCOUVER WOULD BE COOLER IF #273 | It Had Sunbeds Built Into Its Stairway Hangouts

VANCOUVER WOULD BE COOLER IF #273 | It Had Sunbeds Built Into Its Stairway Hangouts

The point of VWBCI is to open local minds to outside practices, concepts, and ideas that might stand to improve our greater civic situation in a parallel… more 

SPACED | Mediterranean Concrete Hideaway Serves Up Improbable Spanish Banks Fantasy

SPACED | Mediterranean Concrete Hideaway Serves Up Improbable Spanish Banks Fantasy

With our city now so laughably unaffordable, thousands of Vancouverites are stuck imagining wonderful homes instead of living in them. “Spaced” is a record… more 

VANCOUVER WOULD BE COOLER IF #272 | It Had Slides For Quick Travel Down High Rises

VANCOUVER WOULD BE COOLER IF #272 | It Had Slides For Quick Travel Down High Rises

The point of VWBCI is to open local minds to outside practices, concepts, and ideas that might stand to improve our greater civic situation in a parallel… more 

READ THIS | Books On Scary Monsters, Heavy Metal, Kids In Love & Big American Road Trips

READ THIS | Books On Scary Monsters, Heavy Metal, Kids In Love & Big American Road Trips

Read This is a Scout column that details book selections by authorities, luminaries, institutions, and locals that share deep affections for the written word… more 

SPACED | This Modern Fjordside Cabin In The Norwegian Woods For A Thetis Island Lookout

SPACED | This Modern Fjordside Cabin In The Norwegian Woods For A Thetis Island Lookout

With our city now so laughably unaffordable, thousands of Vancouverites are stuck imagining wonderful homes instead of living in them. “Spaced” is a record… more 

VANCOUVER WOULD BE COOLER IF #271 | Its Mid-Rise Residential Buildings Were Beautiful

VANCOUVER WOULD BE COOLER IF #271 | Its Mid-Rise Residential Buildings Were Beautiful

(via) Have you noticed how the designs for Vancouver's modern, mid-rise residential buildings are trending towards the repetitive? It's a little unnerving… more 

SPACED | Denver Grad Students’ Micro Cabins In The Forest Would Suit BCs Own Wilderness

SPACED | Denver Grad Students’ Micro Cabins In The Forest Would Suit BCs Own Wilderness

With our city now so laughably unaffordable, thousands of Vancouverites are stuck imagining wonderful homes instead of living in them. “Spaced” is a record… more 

VANCOUVER WOULD BE COOLER IF #270 | It Had Live-Aboard UFOs Floating In False Creek

VANCOUVER WOULD BE COOLER IF #270 | It Had Live-Aboard UFOs Floating In False Creek

The point of VWBCI is to open local minds to outside practices, concepts, and ideas that might stand to improve our greater civic situation in a parallel… more 

The scout Community

49th Parallel Coffee Roasters & Lucky’s Doughnuts Acorn Alibi Room Ancora Waterfront Dining & Patio AnnaLena Araxi Ask For Luigi Au Comptoir Bao Bei Chinese Brasserie Bar Oso Bauhaus Beach Bay Café & Patio Beaucoup Bakery & Cafe Bel Café Bestie Bishop’s Bistro Pastis Bistro Wagon Rouge Bittered Sling Blue Water Cafe + Raw Bar Bottleneck Bufala Burdock & Co. Cadeaux Bakery Café Medina Caffè Artigiano Camp Lifestyle + Coffee Co. Campagnolo Campagnolo ROMA Cartems Donuterie Chambar Chefs’ Table Society of BC Chez Christophe Chocolaterie Patisserie  Chicha Chill Winston ChocolaTas Chocolate Arts Cibo Trattoria Cinara CinCin Ristorante + Bar Cioffi’s Cioppino’s Mediterranean Grill Cocktails & Canapes Catering + Events Culinary Capers Catering & Special Events Dirty Apron Cooking School & Delicatessen District Brasserie Earnest Ice Cream Edible Canada Elementa Espana Exile Bistro Fable Fanny Bay Farmer’s Apprentice Fat Badger Fat Mao Field & Social Forage Giovane Cafe + Eatery Gotham Steakhouse & Bar Grain Granville Island Grapes & Soda Greenhorn Espresso Bar Gyoza Bar Harkness & Co. Harvest Community Foods Hawksworth Restaurant Heirloom Homer Street Cafe & Bar Hy’s Steakhouse Irish Heather Jamjar JJ Bean Joy Road Catering Juice Truck Juniper Keefer Bar Kin Kao Knifewear Kuma Tofino L’Abattoir La Buca La Mezcaleria La Pentola La Quercia La Taqueria Pinche Taco Shop Latab Wine Bar Les Amis du Fromage Lions Pub, The Liquidity Bistro Little District Lobby Lounge + RawBar Lolita’s South Of The Border Cantina Longtail Kitchen Maenam Mamie Taylor’s MARKET by Jean-Georges Matchstick Coffee Roasters Meat & Bread Meinhardt Fine Foods Miku Restaurant Milano Coffee Minami Miradoro Mission Mogiana Coffee Mosquito Nicli Antica Pizzeria Nightingale Nomad Nook Notturno Nuba Oakwood Canadian Bistro OLO OPUS Bar Oru Osteria Savio Volpe Oyama Sausage Co. Pallet Coffee Roasters Pat’s Pub & BrewHouse Phoenix Perennials Pidgin Pied-à-Terre Pizzeria Farina Pointe Restaurant at the Wickaninnish Inn Pourhouse Railtown Cafe Railtown Catering Rain Or Shine Ice Cream Red Wagon, The Revolver Coffee Rocky Mountain Flatbread Co. Royal Dinette Sai Woo Salt Tasting Room Salty Tongue Café Savoury Chef Shaughnessy Restaurant Shebeen Whisk(e)y House Shelter Shika Provisions Siena Six Acres Sophie’s Cosmic Cafe Stable House, The Steel Toad Brewpub & Dining Hall Supermarine Tableau Bar Bistro Tacofino Tavola Terra Breads Thierry Thomas Haas Chocolates & Patisserie Timber Timbertrain Coffee Roasters Torafuku Tractor Foods Truffles Fine Foods Two Rivers Specialty Meats UBC Farm Uncommon Cafe, The Urban Digs Farm Uva Wine & Cocktail Bar Vancouver Aquarium’s Ocean Wise™ Program Via Tevere Pizzeria Napoletana West Restaurant Wildebeest Wolf In The Fog YEW seafood

Lorem Ipsum is simply dummy text of the printing and typesetting industry. Lorem Ipsum has been the industry's standard dummy text ever since the 1500s, when an unknown printer took a galley of type and scrambled it to make a type specimen book. It has survived not only five centuries, but also the leap into electronic typesetting, remaining essentially unchanged. It was .

Lorem Ipsum is simply dummy text of the printing and typesetting industry. Lorem Ipsum has been the industry's standard dummy text ever since the 1500s, when an unknown printer took a galley of type and scrambled it to make a type specimen book. It has survived not only five centuries, but also the leap into electronic typesetting, remaining essentially unchanged. It was .