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monsoon

Charlotte's S&W Cafeteria

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When I was writing in the other topic I was reminded that of a cafeteria chain that used to be based in Charlotte. S & W Cafeteria. This was a place that offered up good reasonably priced food in very elaborate settings. You can read up on the history of S &W Cafeteria here at Wikipedia. The article that someone posted there seems to be a pretty good write up of the place.

They had a place right in downtown Charlotte. Here is a photo from a blog that has some fascinating images of the downtown store. That blog can be found here.

This is a 1930s photo of the interior.

zmgjfa.jpg

This is the building that existed on W. Trade street until it was torn down in the 1980s. Notice the glazed tile and iron work. This was a signature of their buildings. Fortunately if you want to see an excellent version of one of their restaurants, their restaurant in downtown Asheville is still there. It's a historic property now and worth a visit. Its right in their downtown.

28andx2.jpg

S & W built a suburban cafeteria at Park Road shopping center in the modernist style that was popular in the 1950s. It's the building that you see when you if standing on the steps of the theatre. It would be a good example of the architecture of that period except over the years it has had endless horrendous re-claddings done to it since the mid-80s that completely destroyed the original look of the building.

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In a surprising win for historical preservation, the S&W in Knoxville, which is located in their downtown, is currently being renovated (MetroPulse). Its really too bad there isn't anything left here to save.

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This is the building that existed on W. Trade street until it was torn down in the 1980s. Notice the glazed tile and iron work. This was a signature of their buildings. Fortunately if you want to see an excellent version of one of their restaurants, their restaurant in downtown Asheville is still there. It's a historic property now and worth a visit. Its right in their downtown.

28andx2.jpg

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I remember seeing the old S&W's when I was growing up, and I also remember the J&K's. I think there is still a J&K Cafeteria in Pineville on 51. Is there any relation between these two, or are they completely different entities?

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I love the building of the one in Asheville. Here's a photo I took a couple weeks ago:

3152798480_bc8acfd68e_o.jpg

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I ate in all S&Ws. Loved their fried chicken. My mom used to be a waiter in Thacker's downtown on Tryon. It was a pretty nice restaurant. Remember it? My dad worked across the street at Pound and Moore's. I loved the looks of the Pound and Moore building. It was an architectural winner in my opinion. Now the old space just sits there with a picture of the 300 S. Tryon building.

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The JK Cafeteria on Pineville road closed a year or two ago. The K&S on Independence is still open. I sortof like it... the food is nicely priced, but it's kind of hard to avoid the smell of cigarettes.

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Freedom Village Shopping Center is still there. (well.... It was sill there last time I was on Freedom about 8-9 months ago.) It's at the intersection of Freedom Drive and Alleghany. That shopping center is has a long and interesting history and interestingly enough one of the very few pre-60s places left in Charlotte not to have changed that much. My first job in Charlotte was located on Crisman street right there next to this shopping center, and I remember that S&W but I never ate there. I seem to remember that it closed sometime around then and got turned into a daytime Gay disco as I remember hearing the booming bass coming through the walls that you could hear out in the parking lot. I was still a teenager then so I never went to it either.

At that time, NC still required everyone to get a new set of license plates for your car at the same time each year and this shopping center held one of the places where you could go get them. The City of Charlotte also required the display of a city license plate. (it was a windshield sticker) So this shopping center would be absolutely jammed packed each year with long lines of people trying to get their new tags. This all happened during a 30 day period for the entire state as the idea of staggered renewals didn't exist then.

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Interesting. So this is (approximately) similar to Park Road Shopping Center and Cotswold Mall for the west side.

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Yes, but it had not received the updates the other two places have. Cotswald isn't even close to it's original look and it has been added on to. Park Road shopping center has had similar upgrades though not quite as dramatic. Both are a lot more upscale now than The Freedom Village. It also included the Freedom Village Theater that has long since closed. I am not even sure if that building is still there.

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