Thursday, January 16, 2014

The Rosarian, and Cafeterias

1914: an auspicious beginning ...
This century-old advertising card depicts the Rosarian Cafeteria, one of the features of the just-opened Morgan Building in downtown Portland. The Rosarian opened on October 23, 1913, as a “High-Class, Moderate-Priced Eating Place for Ladies and Gentlemen,” conducted by J.E. and E.C. Dolen. With seating for 250 customers, the Rosarian advertised that it had “superior ventilation.”
1917 dissolution

 The Morgan Building also held the Rainbow Grill and the Delta Buffet; the Delta advised that it was “strictly a first-class gentleman’s resort” that offered choice wines, liquors and cigars and had “the famous Hop Gold beer” on draft.

The Rosarian had its troubles. The business was auctioned off in 1916, and re-opened on September 20 under new management, with Eugene Cohn the proprietor. On October 8, the Rosarian announced that “Boston—Brooklyn world’s base ball series will be given by innings each day during luncheon hour, commencing Monday.” By April 1917, Cohn was trying to sell the place, and it disappears from the pages of the Oregonian.
Oregonian, October 3, 1927

The Rosarian may have failed, but it was only one of a number of cafeterias that sprang up in the 1910s and 1920s, popular with downtown office workers for their low cost and quick service. Griffin’s and Rucker’s, shown in the advertisement here, were long-lasting: Rucker’s until at least 1956, and Griffin’s until 1978.

And then there were the (also long-lasting) Manning’s Coffee Cafes, which were really cafeterias. The very name suggests that someone got jittery after too much coffee. Another story, soon.

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