The luncheonette I used to walk to has been closed for renovations. The food was pretty good.
The mostly original interior of the little place has been dismantled to give the building a complete overhaul (maybe it was unsafe). The big change is they laid a foundation and expanded Walt’s in back, where the tiny kitchen was.
The $64,000 question: will it still be real when it reopens? The ideal: ‘We’re not retro; we’re OLD.’ Not just the Fifties (Elvis, Marilyn and all that); the ’50s. (A real distinction and long-running argument; I’m not too snobbish about the Fifties but it doesn’t tell the whole story.) Not cutesy, not fake, but a reconstruction only with extra space. Would a bigger Walt’s still be real?
There’s a successful local burger chain, Nifty Fifty’s, that sort of pretends to be what Walt’s was, but bigger. Nifty’s looks like American Graffiti-ish ’62. Of course I like them. Including the food. (They make milkshakes out of nearly anything.) But I’ve been told they have no real regard for the history, as if Garry Marshall ran a restaurant. A friend told me one day he saw Union Jacks in one of them and was told they were celebrating the British Invasion. Almost as inconceivable as having a Woodstock Day. He never went back. Point taken.
As that friend said, if they put up a poster of Henry Winkler, I’m out of there.