Pine Grill Interior around 1949
Photo by F. R. Schultz (my father) Scanned from a 4x5 negative. One of my favorite of Dad's historical photos. Most small American towns had these small family run cafes. There were four in Junction City that I remember. My family ate in this one from time to time, though mostly it was a place to enjoy a cup of coffee and chat with friends, or in my case an occasional ice cream cone -- 5 cents a scoop. Note the prices. I remember the waitress very fondly. Her name was Leila Elson. The man standing in the door in the paper cap is the owner Charles Parson. You can see that the town policeman has stopped by for coffee. The two women at the front are Elna Jacobson Gregory and her mother.
There are some interesting details to be seen in enlargement. The two 60-cent items at the top of the posted menu refer to "chicken fried steak" sandwiches; this was a thin piece of rather tough beef tenderized by passing between a set of rollers with hundreds of little squarish protruding blades; the perforated strip of meat (now stretching somewhat larger) was then dredged in egg and flour and fried in Crisco. For dinner, a larger version was offered (sans sliced bread, but with a roll, probably, and a little pat of margarine) and usually this ensemble was served with mashed potatoes under a plentiful coating of thick, white gravy, known as "country gravy" or, alternatively, French fries and catchup were offered as accompaniments. The steak was often blessed by a dollop of catchup, as well. This was a very popular item, especially with men. The cafe also offered side dishes of vegetables such as green beans or corn; I even remember seeing diced beets.