What is the historical definition of ‘buffet’ in Arizona?

Douglas C. Towne

Bar, nightclub, cafe, or some hybrid institution: just what is the historic definition of the term “buffet” in Arizona?

These times, quite a few persons affiliate the term with the diet regime-shattering smorgasbords produced famed in Las Vegas. These buffets ended up loss leaders presented by casinos to entice patrons to gamble in advance of or following their pig out. The strategy was type of like a cafeteria on steroids, the place you served oneself as substantially foods as you desired. Shoppers loved to sample a large wide range of food for just one low selling price it was a Vegas take care of.

In Phoenix, there was the Copper State Buffet on Washington at 20th Road, which operated from the 1940s until at the very least 2006. The painted outside signal touted “Cocktails,” “Dancing,” “Live Tunes,” and “Offer Liquors,” along with a mural of a dancing couple outfitted in 1970s attire. If the buffet made available food stuff, it was a determined afterthought.

So, was the term “buffet” traditionally utilised in Arizona as another expression for bar or nightclub? A verify of an old Yellow Pages shown Copper Point out Buffet under cocktail lounges. But the identical reference under the “Buffets” heading, mentioned, “See Dining places Also Cocktail Lounges.”

Matchbook cover of Saratoga Café & Buffet in Phoenix, 1940s.

Saratoga Café & Buffet, positioned at Central Avenue and Washington Avenue in Phoenix in the 1940s, was in the Yellow Pages below “Places to eat.” Ephemera from the business enterprise, which promoted by itself with the motto, “Good Food is Very good Health,” appeared to assist the idea that this spot was food-oriented. But on its vintage postcard, the buffet has a separate entrance from the café, and the business enterprise is officially known as “The Saratoga Café and Cocktail Lounge.” So possibly, the buffet was the cocktail lounge?

Two renowned Grand Canyon State historians weighed in on the buffet etymological rabbit hole.

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Buffet Bar in Tucson, 2011.

“I think it’s a nod to the buffet automobiles on American trains that served drinks and mild snacks,” says Demion Clinco, government director of the Tucson Historic Preservation Foundation. “The Buffet Bar in Tucson references the connection in the graphic of the sign, which is a yellow streamline train on the outer edge.”

Arizona condition historian Marshall Trimble recalled a organization owned by Frank and Nora Gumm in his hometown of Ash Fork. In the 1950s, it was Gummies Buffet, but by the 1970s it was called Gummies Bar by the 1970s. “The position was wherever you could locate the town medical professional if he was not in his office environment,” Trimble claims. “I you should not remember them serving any foods except perhaps difficult-boiled eggs from a jar.”

Marshall Trimble at Gummies Bar in Ash Fork, 1970s.

Trimble extra that there are various definitions of a buffet. “A single is a piece of home furnishings. It also indicates to strike frequently. I assume it is most frequently employed to describe serving by yourself.”

But Ash Fork’s buffet was most undoubtedly a saloon. “Maybe Frank and Nora just liked the sound of a French term due to the fact it positioned their institution on a better airplane than the other bars in city,” reflects Trimble.

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