Sunday, July 11, 2010

Valentine Diners

Valentine Diners began their nearly forty year career in Wichita, Kansas, an idea born of the Great Depression. They were constructed as eight to ten seat diners that one or two people could operate. If you were good at it and you served good food at a fair price and kept your customers happy, you could make a successful business of a Valentine.

Valentines could be found along major highways to attract travelers, in industrial areas to attract workers, and in small towns where they might be one of the only restaurants available.

Illinois born Arthur Valentine came to Kansas in 1914. He was a natural salesman, hawking automobiles for a while in Great Bend but always hoping someday to be his own boss.

Sometime in the late 1920s or early 1930s Valentine and his wife, Ella, opened a restaurant in the small south central Kansas town of Hazelton. They took a liking to the business, and others followed, including Wichita and Hutchinson and eventually their "chain" of restaurants became known as the Valentine Lunch System.

The structure was built in sections by the Metal Building Company of Wichita and the Martin Perry Company of New York, who supplied the Wichita business. The cafe included a complete line of foods for its customers, short orders, regular dinners, lunches, and sandwiches and, according to Arthur Valentine, curb service would be featured.

LINK: For more about Valentine Diners visit the Kansas State Historical Society website - HERE!


Heidi Ann said...

I love the whole idea and the look of those little diners so much that I wish there was one exactly like it in my town so I could go eat there. In fact, since I have 20 years of restaurant experience, I even kind of like the idea of running one!
I'd love it to look just like the one in the last picture. Except I don't know that I'd have the stamina at this point in my life to own my own business!

Ed "ICE" Berg said...

Love these small diners. I like your ability to find vintage photos/graphics!