This Was Once Upon a Time Vancouver’s Most Popular Restaurant Chain

Aristocratic signage at Granville & Broadway. Source

The ever-evolving Restaurant Graveyard series looks back at the countless, long-shuttered establishments that helped to propel Vancouver’s food and drink forward. Full A-Z with maps and photos here. May they never be forgotten!

Founded by Frank Hunter in 1932, the Aristocratic evolved from a drive-in at Kingsway and Fraser into what was once upon a time Vancouver’s most popular restaurant chain. Locally famous for its slogan of “courteous service, quality food, all over town”, it was well known for its cheap burgers, wonderful neon signage and the brand character of ‘Risty’ sporting a top hat and monocle. The company’s collection of casual, fast(ish) food diners – nine locations when Hunter sold the chain in 1947 – eventually grew to a dozen addresses, including 13th & Cambie, 10th & Alma, Main & King Edward (now Helen’s Grill), Granville & Smithe, Broadway & Granville, and Main & Broadway. It would also hatch sister eateries such as Risty’s and the Silk Hat on Granville St., Henri’s Grill & Smorgasbord on West Georgia, and the Flame Super Club out in Burnaby. Having suffered standards degradation for decades, the chain was eventually reduced to a single location – Broadway & Granville – until it was finally (tragically) shuttered in 1997.

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