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Knights of the Round Table: 1941

Knights of the Round Table: 1941

December 1941. "Hot Shoppes restaurant, Washington, D.C." Medium-format negative by John Collier for the Office of War Information. View full size.


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W Mitt Romney

Governor Willard Mitt Romney was named for J Willard Marriott of Hot Shoppes fame. Dad Governor George Romney's best friend and a mainstay of the Republican Party in the 1950s and 1960s.

Hot Shoppe: 2014

Smart and Comfortable

Washington Post, August 13, 1939.

New Hot Shoppe at Silver Spring

J. Willard Marriott, president of Hot Shoppes “Drive In” Restaurants, located in three cities, has just constructed their newest, most modern and finest unit at Silver Spring, Md., The new shop being located on Georgia avenue just north of Alaska avenue.

The unit will have an entrance lounge inside the front door, with smart and comfortable furniture arranged for customers' convenience. A delicate pastel coloring will feature the interior and indirect lighting will be used. As usual, the orange porcelain roof will be used, and there will be a small orange base around the building, the balance of the exterior being white trimmed with green. The dining room side will be treated on the exterior with shrubbery and grilles to give it a homelike atmosphere, while the curb service side of the building will be kept mostly open and be designed to feature this service.

Another distinctive feature will be the concealed kitchen. In most units the kitchen is visible from outside and inside the building but in the new one all space will be devoted to beautification and comfort. A modernistic circular counter will be in use at the new unit, design of which will be unique. The back bar and walls in the counter section of the store will be decorated with tile. Bleached ash wood is used for all the furnishings and floors of the two dining rooms will be covered partly with rugs and blue tile.


I can see your Epiglottis!


>> These young guys are probably waiting in time-honored fashion for their dates

Perhaps they are each other's date. There are, after all, only two water glasses.

Sharp decor

Going by how often they show up in the interior decor of classic films of the 1940s, that decade must have been the Golden Age of mother-in-law's tongues. It seems that any place above the level of hash house or hovel had one or more somewhere. The only thing that outnumbered them were sconces. The lack of the latter is my only quarrel with this photo.

Midnight at Marriott's

These young guys are probably waiting in time-honored fashion for their dates to get back from the ladies' room. A quick look at adjacent negative numbers turned up nearly two dozen photos in this series, in a restaurant jammed with so many after-theatre diners that there's no way the hostess would have seated these two by themselves in a corner booth. Another photo in the series is labeled "midnight," and this restaurant was one of the Washington area's "A & W Hot Shoppes." The chain originated in 1927 as a corner root beer stand in Columbia Heights, named for its founder J. Willard Marriott and his wife Alice, who would go on with additional business partners to found Marriott Hotels. The "Hot Shoppe" name came when they added a Mexican-themed menu to their soda fountain fare.

Things Change

You can still go in a cafe and a napkin holder will be on the table. You will not see an ash tray on the table and rarely will you see water served without asking or sugar in a bowl.

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