Retro in the Metro: Where to go for a vintage experience in Sacramento

Shout out to our friend Dave Weinstein at the Eichler Network for his article in CA-Modern Magazine on "BLASTS FROM THE PAST - 15 retrolicious ways to break through the time warp and relive the mid-century today." Some cool kids, including my friend, Heather David and yours truly are quoted within.

Dave couldn't fit everything into his article about where to find mid-century-ish experiences in Sacramento, so I'm going to fill you in here. I'm starting with a small list and we'll build on it as time and information roll in. If you're feeling nostalgic for a walk down memory lane or a visit to the land that time forgot, check these vintage eateries and places out!

First, I'm going to start with more detail about two of the places mentioned in Dave's article: Pancake Circus and Country Club Lanes.



How we love thee, oh Pancake Circus -- and we've mentioned it before here and here. I was excited when I discovered during one of my microfilm research sessions that the much adored building was designed by Sacramento architect Sooky Lee. Mr. Lee is responsible for other beloved buildings around town, including Vic's Market (formerly Jumbo Market) and HOT ITALIAN (formerly Young's Fireside Shop). We featured the former Jumbo Market as a "Point of Interest" during the 2010 Sacramento Mid-Century Modern Home Tour.

I was going to do a detailed history about Pancake Circus but the awesome folks at Capital Public Radio have already done a comprehensive time line. Thanks guys!

So.... Go! Eat pancakes in a diner that would make a great set for a Quentin Tarantino movie.


Country Club Lanes - it's a Flintstones meets the Jetsons kind of bowling alley, including a place called "Candlerock Lounge." Yaba-Daba DOO!

Designed by Long Beach architects Powers, Daly and DeRosa, this stunning bowling alley boasts three hyperbolic paraboloid roofs. Powers, Daly and DeRosa produced many stunning Googie buildings, including the Futurama Bowl in San Jose which will be one of the many awesome attractions featured this Saturday, October 9, 2010 in "San Jose Modern: A Driving Tour of Mid-Century Highlights." Put together by the lovely and talented Heather David and sponsored by Nor-Cal Doco-Momo. You *are* going to this, aren't you? I previously posted about it here.

Hungry for more?

Jim-Denny's Hamburger and Chili - circa 1934. Recently featured in a recent episode of Man vs. Food.

Old Ironsides - circa 1934. Met my husband here! Yeah, I'm classy like that.

College Cyclery - circa 1935. Cool peeps with cool bikes.

Gunther's Ice Cream Shop - circa 1940. My favorite animated neon sign in town! Designed by William Koblik and Alfred M. Fisher.

Trails Restaurant - circa 1940. Not much changes around these here parts.

Iceland - circa 1940. Like a phoenix, Iceland is rising from the ashes of its tragic fire earlier this year. Should be ready for business again soon. Designed by Charles F. Dean.

Lil Joe's Over One Million Steaks Sold - circa 1946, according to current owner.

Vic's Ice Cream - circa 1947. A Land Park neighborhood institution.

Hollywood Hardware -  circa 1948; current location since 1959. Best selection of hardware in our neighborhood.

The Broiler - circa 1950. Steak and potatoes! Not the original location but the original restaurant.

East Sacramento Hardware - circa 1951. Another great old-fashioned hardware store.

Marie's Do-Nuts - circa late 50s (still researching). Awaken your inner Homer Simpson at 1:00 AM.

Jamie's Broadway Grille - circa 1959. Order the turkey, mashed potatoes and gravy. You won't be sorry.

Fairytale Town - circa 1959. Run the Crooked Mile! But watch your step.

Sam's Hofbrau - circa 1959. Meat under hot lights!

Sacramento Zoo entrance - circa 1961. More hyperbolic paraboloid splendor. Designed by Kenneth C. Rickey and Fred E. Brooks.

Lucky Cafe - current location since ~ 1962. Another Sacto favorite.

Corti Bros. Market - circa 1962 remodel by former occupant Grand View Market. Best wine selection in town.

Taylor's Market - circa 1962. Formerly a Safeway; operated by the same family and friends of the original owners.

Land Park Ski & Sports - circa 1964. Former home of Woody's Smorgasburger transformed into a ski shop chalet. Designed by Neil Munroe Johnson.

Senator Savings & Loan (now Chase Bank) - circa 1964. This awesome round bank steals the show on Freeport Boulevard. Designed by Silvio L. Barovetto and Albert B. Thomas.

Suzie Burger - circa early 70s revamped Phillips 66 station. PBR on tap!

California Auto Museum - began in the 80's and going strong with an awesome display of mid-century vehicles and other automobiles from other eras.

Rick's Dessert Diner - circa 1986 retro styled dessert mecca in Midtown. I ate my very first lunch when I moved here for a professional job in 1989: a giant piece of cake and a tall glass of milk. Yum!

Midtown Stomp -  swing and Lindy Hop the night away!

This is just a small list that I would like to expand -- let me know if I've forgotten one of your favorite Sacramento retro hangouts! I'll be featuring some of these in future posts.

2 comments:

IanMerk said...

Patriot Ace Hardware at Fruitridge and Stockton, California Bank and Trust 1331 Broadway (Formerly Sumitomo Bank, 1955), Village Drive-In 14th Ave and 60th St, Stagecoach Restaurant at Florin and Franklin.

Gretchen said...

Nice ones, Ian! The bank formerly known as Sumitomo was designed by George Muraki.