If you’re not familiar with Little Tavern restaurants, or even if you are, I think you’ll really enjoy a peek at what Spencer Stewart has put together on the subject. Spencer has been photo-ing and researching diners for many years. He’s now become obsessed enough with Little Taverns that he’s been making models of them — one nearly life-sized. His recent post contains loads of info and vintage photos:
I’ll give you a quick “snapshot” here. Little Taverns were inspired by White Castle restaurants. By the 1940s, there were nearly 50 of these little porcelain enamel clad buildings installed in the DC/Baltimore area. Here’s a photo from 1972 of Harry Duncan, the founder of Little Tavern, posing with a model of what the buildings looked like originally:
Although the last location closed in 2009, a handful of Little Tavern buildings still survive. This location in Laurel, MD was the most intact example of the chain in 2004 when I took this photo. I hope these signs have been stashed away somewhere because as far as I know, these were the last remaining examples of them.
By 2008, the signs were gone, the door bricked up & building details removed as this building was converted into a donut shop:
This location in Baltimore was demolished shortly after I took this photo in 2003. Note the then intact “Buy ’em by the Bag” sign on the side of the building:
For more photos and info, I have a couple pages about Little Taverns at my website:
And be sure to check out Spencer’s post mentioned above.