Sunday, March 10, 2013

Walt’s Steaks update

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.


  1. From what i had seen driving past, it was a complete rebuild. Nothing of the original will be there. Sadly. Looks like the good word in Philadelphia Magazine got them some extra business and it went to their heads.

  2. Appropriately, they use danger quotes around "Since 1945" because, from what I'm guessing, it sure won't look like it anymore.


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