By HOWARD RILEY
There seems to be a lot of talk about places to eat in Saranac Lake and how we need a 24-7 diner so one could get an old-fashioned "hot-hamburger".
The "hot hamburger" was an actual menu item, and when it arrived staring up at you on a huge plate, was the most delicious hamburger ever made - the beef was laid out to just fit between two slices of white bread alongside a pile of homemade french fries and it was all floating in about a half gallon of rich, brown gravy now, of course, to support that diner we would need that additional two or three thousand people to come back that used to live here.
A big convention
Back in June of 1937 Saranac Lake Veterans of Foreign Wars - Mose Minnie/George Lyeth Post 3357 - hosted the 18th annual Encampment of the Department of New York Veterans of Foreign Wars.
The program listed a lot of meetings at the Elks Club, the Hotel Saranac, the Alpine Hotel, the Harrietstown Town Hall and an intriguing title to a meeting scheduled at the Armory - "Military Order of the Cootie - Grand Scratch".
However, half the program listed about 40 places to eat - places marked with a star (*) have orchestra and dancing; places marked (**) have victrola and dancing; those marked (***) were open just for the encampment and included only two locations, the Methodist Church and the Odd Fellows Temple at 103 Main Street.
Those with an orchestra and dancing included Hanmer's on state Route 86 to Saranac Inn; Chances, Inc., 94 Main Street; the Hotel Saranac; the Alpine Tavern, 90 Broadway; The Floridel, Moody Pond Road; Birks Swiss Chalet, on route 3 North to Bloomingdale; Alex Grove, on state Route 3 North to Loon Lake; Durgan's Grill, on route 86 North to Lake Clear and Major Dawson's, on state Route 86 to Saranac Inn.
Now those with a victrola and dancing included the Belvedere Restaurant at 57 Bloomingdale Avenue; the Elks Club at 19 Bloomingdale Avenue; the Ray Brook Inn (about where the Ford Agency is today) on state Route 86 South to Ray Brook and Brown's Evergreen Tea Room (now Tail 'OThe Pup) on state Route 86 South to Ray Brook.
Here were a few more on the list of places to eat: Pascal Urgo Restaurant, 173 Broadway; Mrs. Frances Tully, 164 Broadway; Alpine Hotel, 84 Broadway; Jewtraw's, River Street on Lake Flower; Adirondack Hotel, 81 Broadway; St. Regis Hotel, 1 Bloomingdale Avenue; McVeety's Lunch, 7 Bloomingdale Avenue, (later the Miss Saranac Diner first owned by our cousin Phil Collins and late owned by our cousin Hugh McKillip); The Rathskeller, 36 Broadway (later the Dew Drop Inn); Pat Fina, 80 Broadway; City Restaurant, 51 Broadway and also at 51 Broadway the One Minute Lunch, (this was all one restaurant but the attached dining room had a different name than the lunch counter and it was still that way when it was owned and operated by Craig Dickie's father and grandfather).
Then there was the Queen Tea Garden ay 39 Broadway; Nick's Sandwich Shop, 18 Broadway; Downing and Cane, 15 Broadway; Pontiac Confectionery, 11 Broadway (attached to the Pontiac Theater where all the candy was made on the premises by the Sarbanes family); Carson's, 24 Broadway; Mrs. Lemuel Witherbee, 41 Woodruff; French's, 74 Broadway; J.J. Newberry Co., 65 Main Street; F. W. Woolworth, 61 Main Street; Fran Walsemann, 119 Broadway (later Bernie Wilson's); Club Restaurant, 29 Main Street; A. B. Hickok, 303 Broadway; Bouck's Bowling Academy, 5 Woodruff Street and Foster's Home Lunch - probably some kin of my friend Garrett Foster, SLFD driver.