Saskatoon Public Library  
     
  Saskatoon Through the Ages:
selected photographs from Local History Gallery Shows
 
     
 

Photo 1 of 31 | | |

2005 - Blue Plate Special: 100 Years of Saskatoon Restaurants

Going out for a restaurant meal has been a part of Saskatoon’s history almost since its inception. Although the Temperance Society forbade alcohol, dining out has long been a Saskatoon tradition. The Chinese, Greek and ethnic communities started eating establishments early on, in fact Saskatoon had a Chinese restaurant as early as 1902. As of June 1987 city assessors department reported that there were more than 400 eateries in Saskatoon!

Original gallery show curated by: R. Jaremko.

With the assistance of: C. Brown, M.E. Schnitzler, K. Snider, B. Baier, J. Broughton, L.Stark, G. Kovalenko and B. Wurzer-Cey.



2005 - Blue Plate Special: 100 Years of Saskatoon Restaurants

The Goose Lake Line was the rail line which ran from Saskatoon to Calgary. The first tracks to the Goose Lake country of Delisle, Tessier and Rosetown were laid in 1907 reaching Kindersley in 1908. Engineers and labourers on the construction trains needed to be fed. These café-cars helped feed the work gangs as they lay track on the flat prairies.

Date: 1908.

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Photo 2 of 31 | | |


2005 - Blue Plate Special: 100 Years of Saskatoon Restaurants

The Albert of Albert's Café was likely Albert Hughes. Hughes was S. B. Dale's original partner when they opened the first Albert's Café at 112 - 20th Street East in 1909. In 1912 Dale would pay $75,000 for the half interest owned by Hughes and own the entire business. With restaurants on 2nd Avenue, 3rd Avenue and 1st Avenue there were soon three Albert's Cafés. The restaurants served short orders, regular meals and sold ice cream, cigars, candies, and fruit.

Date: [ca. 1910]

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Photo 3 of 31 | | |


2005 - Blue Plate Special: 100 Years of Saskatoon Restaurants

When the King Edward Hotel first opened, its dining room was one of the largest in the city having a seating capacity for sixty. By 1914 renovations had increased the seating to eighty guests. This circa 1912 view shows the dining room decorated for Christmas. It was described as "one of the most inviting and attractive in the city of Saskatoon [where] waitresses clad in sanitary, immaculate garments flit about among the guests who crowd this popular room three times everyday."

Date: [ca. 1912]

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Photo 4 of 31 | | |


2005 - Blue Plate Special: 100 Years of Saskatoon Restaurants

H. Kelly O'Brien opened the Rex Café at 258 - 2nd Avenue South in 1915. Previously he had operated the Olympia Café on 20th Street East near the Phoenix Building when he first came to Saskatoon in 1910. O'Brien, his brother Stanley and other family members would operate the Rex until 1919 when it became a Chinese café called the Union. Kelly O'Brien's involvement in the restaurant business stopped in 1919 when he joined Canadian Northern Railway.

Date: [ca. 1914]

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Photo 5 of 31 | | |


2005 - Blue Plate Special: 100 Years of Saskatoon Restaurants

Only one lone customer is visible in this interior view of the Rex Café at 258 - 2nd Avenue South although the hanging coats suggest the other booths were occupied. The Rex Café was advertised as the home of "Kelly's Koffee". Indeed Kelly O'Brien operated a horse-drawn mobile coffee wagon he called the Koffee Kart. He would decorate the wagon and drive it in the Travellers' Day parade.

Date: [between 1915 and 1919]

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Photo 6 of 31 | | |


2005 - Blue Plate Special: 100 Years of Saskatoon Restaurants

The location of this unidentified Saskatoon dining room remains unknown. It may have been the Palm Room located in Campbell's Café next to the King George Hotel. The Palm Room was a popular dance and banquet hall.

Date: [between 1920 and 1940]

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Photo 7 of 31 | | |


2005 - Blue Plate Special: 100 Years of Saskatoon Restaurants

With its sign stating "Nothing in this store over 15 cents" the soda fountain at Woolworth's offered a wealth of temptation to the shopper. Rootbeer and orange crush were 5 cents, sundaes only ten cents. The F. W. Woolworth company had come to Saskatoon in 1914. In 1929 a new 5-10-15 cent store opened at 224 - 21st Street East complete with a gleaming soda fountain ready to serve up a Palm Dairy ice cream soda after a five-and-ten shopping spree.

Date: [after 1914]

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Photo 8 of 31 | | |


2005 - Blue Plate Special: 100 Years of Saskatoon Restaurants

The Chocolate Shop at 167 2nd Avenue South was the last of Gustave A. Golf's restaurant ventures. Golf had come to Saskatoon in 1910 and opened the Royal Confectionary on 20th Street East. The Electric Bakery on 21st Street East and tea rooms on 2nd Avenue South were other Golf establishments. The Golf name continues to be a part of the Saskatoon restaurant scene.

Date: [between 1922 and 1933]

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Photo 9 of 31 | | |


2005 - Blue Plate Special: 100 Years of Saskatoon Restaurants

The Chocolate Shop at 167 - 2nd Avenue South opened on May 24, 1922. At the time, owner Gus Golf boasted they were the finest ice cream and tea rooms in Western Canada. Called the "studio of confections", the Chocolate Shop sold chocolates, ice cream, and lunches. A novelty feature was the fact that all foods were cooked by electricity.

Date: [between 1922 and 1933]

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Photo 10 of 31 | | |


2005 - Blue Plate Special: 100 Years of Saskatoon Restaurants

Under the supervision of Chef Guillaume Schmidts, the kitchens of the Bessborough Hotel could prepare some 1,500 meals a day during convention period. The kitchen army included a night chef, second cook, garde manger, swingman, fry cook, roast cook, butcher, vegetable cook, vegetable boy, fireman, pot washer, staff cook, head still room girl, pastry chef, baker, assistant pastry chef, and pastry pot washer.

Date: March 1949.

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Photo 11 of 31 | | |


2005 - Blue Plate Special: 100 Years of Saskatoon Restaurants

The Bessborough Hotel's original cafeteria was located on the main floor to the left of the entrance. Coloured variegated tile walls, chromium nickel chairs with red leather seats and tables with black formica tops and silver trim were the latest in modern design in 1935. The cafeteria offered quick service and meals from 25 cents to 40 cents everyday of the week except Sunday. In 1962 the old tiling was removed and the cafeteria was modernized.

Date: [September or November] 23, 1960.

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Photo 12 of 31 | | |


2005 - Blue Plate Special: 100 Years of Saskatoon Restaurants

"Enjoy delicious, skillfully prepared foods, attractively served in surroundings reminiscent of picturesque Algiers". The Algerian Room, located on the third floor of the Eaton's store at 3rd Avenue and 21st Street, featured soft carpeting, mellow lights and tastefully appointed tables when the store opened in 1928. At the time of this photograph, the tables had been replaced by a lunch counter.

Date: [after 1928]

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Photo 13 of 31 | | |


2005 - Blue Plate Special: 100 Years of Saskatoon Restaurants

Harry Comerford, Pauline Schmidt, Stella Mack, and two unidentified friends stand in front of the Quick Lunch at 330 - 20th Street West. Located next to the Roxy Theatre where Pauline Schmidt worked as a cashier, the restaurant opened in 1932. Jack Mack, Stella's husband, ran the restaurant with his wife from 1934 until 1937. By 1939 Quick Lunch disappeared to be replaced by another restaurant.

Date: [193-]

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Photo 14 of 31 | | |


2005 - Blue Plate Special: 100 Years of Saskatoon Restaurants

Second Avenue in the 1930s was home to probably 9 or 10 restaurants within two and a half blocks. The Golden Gate Café and Confectionary at 145 - 2nd Avenue North in addition to dinner and candies offered daily tea cup readings courtesy of Madame Thwaite. Campbell's Café and Palm Room located next to the King George Hotel at 151 - 2nd Avenue North was opened in 1929 by Harry Jones and James Campbell. It was described as the "banquet hall of Saskatoon".

Date: [between 1930 and 1934]

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Photo 15 of 31 | | |


2005 - Blue Plate Special: 100 Years of Saskatoon Restaurants

The flickering red robin on the neon sign at 834 Broadway Avenue welcomed everyone from farmers, to students, to sisters from St. Joseph's school - all customers at the Red Robin Café. John Heitman and Raymond Henderson had originally opened the Red Robin Fruit Store and Café in 1929. Heitman would operate the café until 1951 when it was sold. The restaurant closed in 1965 and the building was demolished in September of that year.

Date: [ca. 1947]

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Photo 16 of 31 | | |


2005 - Blue Plate Special: 100 Years of Saskatoon Restaurants

At a servicemen's canteen in wartime Saskatoon, friends Jean McLeod and Belle Bowers take a break from their jobs as stenographers to enjoy a meal. Their volunteer waiter is Steve MacEachern, then mayor of Saskatoon. The recuiting poster behind them states "Women are urgently needed". Such fundraisers were a major part of the war effort. This one may have taken place in the old Canadian National Railway station.

Date: [194-]

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Photo 17 of 31 | | |


2005 - Blue Plate Special: 100 Years of Saskatoon Restaurants

Max Kolpak cooks steak at the grill of the Ritz Hotel and Café at 118 - 21st Street East. William Geatros and his brother bought the hotel and lunch counter in 1931. (Bill once told his daughter he won the Ritz in a card game.) When Bill died in 1949, his wife Effie took over the operation, rebuilding the café area. Effie Geatros ran the place until her death in 1984. The day of her funeral, according to her daughter, was the only time in all that time, the café was ever closed.

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Photo 18 of 31 | | |


2005 - Blue Plate Special: 100 Years of Saskatoon Restaurants

The Shasta Café at 213 - 2nd Avenue South was another of Saskatoon's Greek-owned restaurants. Ted Gardener opened the restaurant in the DC Block in 1940 only to have it damaged in the fire of December 1942. Ted Gardener would manage the restaurant until 1950 when Joe Gardener became manager. During its history it was associated with the Saskatoon Black Hawks basketball team.

Date: [between 1940 and 1961]

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Photo 19 of 31 | | |


2005 - Blue Plate Special: 100 Years of Saskatoon Restaurants

When Mike Gedir returned to Saskatooon from serving in World War II, he and his wife Ann opened the Veteran's Café at 301 - 20th Street West where Anne had previously operated the Silex Café. In 1948 they would move to the new corner building at 343 - 20th Sreet West. They would own and operate the Veteran's Café from 1945 to 1962 when the restaurant was sold and Mike Gedir became chef at the Dundurn Army Camp. By 1965 the Veteran's Café was no more.

Date: [between 1948 and 1965]

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Photo 20 of 31 | | |


2005 - Blue Plate Special: 100 Years of Saskatoon Restaurants

The lunch counter at Bell's Green and White Service at Cumberland and College Drive was a favorite hangout for university students. Elmer Bell, a graduate in pharmacy from the University of Saskatchewan had originally opened this meeting place which was not only very reasonable but was said to put up a pretty good meal. This was pretty important to those on a student budget.

Date: February 6, 1953.

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