Archive for the ‘Delaware retro, vintage’ Category

Sometimes going down a different street can make all the difference- as it is exactly how I found this great vintage neon sign and wonderful vintage building housing Harry Louie Laundry and Dry Cleaning in downtown Dover, DE. (Looks like Happy Louie on this bright December day!)

Harry Louie Dry Cleaning & Laundry Dover DE
I was taking an alternate route to Spence’s Bazaar to pick up our Christmas pie when I drove past this cheery sight and you know I just had to stop and capture it! Here’s a closer look at that well kept sign:


Glad to report that the closed sign is only for the Christmas holiday, and while not much info can be found online about the origins of the business, it appears to be family owned and operated and is a local favorite.

Harry Louie Laundry Dover DE - Standing Tall

One thing that touched me about Harry Louie is that the building remains standing tall with a well maintained neon sign, despite the fact that the businesses that had flanked it years ago have been turned into parking lots. Thanks Harry Louie, for standing tall where others have fallen!

So if you’re ever in Dover DE and need some dry cleaning, stop by here to support this business, and if you’re in the area and are just stopping to photo – go on in and tell them how much you dig their sign and building. I’m sure it would make their day! I’ll remember to swing by here some evening to see if the sign gets lit up too.

Harry Louie Laundry & Dry Cleaning
129 South Governors Avenue
Dover, DE 19904
(302) 734-8195 ‎

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I’ve started my new year off right, and one of the best things I’ve done in these past 3 days is to FINALLY go to Sambo’s Tavern in Leipsic DE for crabs! Don’t let the fact that it’s a NASCAR fan frequented tavern scare you off, unless you have folks under 21 in your party, as it is an actual tavern (no kids allowed). Nor should the beer signage be something to dissuade you from entering this classic waterfront establishment.

Sambo's Tavern PBR & Bud

As once you get past that and step inside you can sit at a newspaper covered table and have a view like this:

Water View From Our Table

One of the few Delaware entries in the Jane and Michael Stern books, I’ve known about this place for years, but never stopped by until yesterday when we had to pick up the Retro RoadDog 1/2 way between the beach and home. (Leipsic is right next to Dover/Smyrna in the middle of the state). I was happily surprised to find that it was a Retro Roadmap worthy stop, but since I wasn’t prepared, these photos come courtesy of my cell phone (so modern!)

The tavern itself has been here for 55 years and when we walked in I was immediately smitten with the vintage chairs and clean linoleum floor.

Vintage Chairs and Linoleum

As well as the authentic bar stools and knotty pine bar decor.

Leipsic Tavern Bar

Now I know some people are a bit curious about the name of the tavern, so I thought I’d let you know it was founded by Samuel “Sambo” Burrows and still run by his family. I believe that’s him on the T-shirts available for sale.

Sambo's Tavern T-Shirts

And I thought it was nice to read the Delaware State Senate proclamation stating that he was “The Town of Leipsic Gentleman whose unique tavern is known the world over and has created a colourful segment of the history of our state”

“OK” you say, “so knotty pine and ocean views, vintage tables spread with newspaper are all well and good, but what about dinner?”

This is my reply:

Delaware Crab Feast - Happy Birthday Mod Betty!Real Delaware crabs – YUM!

Nothing says summer in the mid-Atlantic like hunkering down over a tray of crabs, mallet in hand, roll of paper towels by your side, and newspaper there to mop up all the goop. Crack them claws, search for the sweet meat and just beware of the “Devils Fingers” notes my Delaware born and raised honey!

I think this is why Sambo’s has friends and fans from all over the world:

Sambo's Fans Are From Everywhere!

Now a couple of random things you should know- they only serve steamed crabs in season, and they aren’t caked with Old Bay but rather coarse ground salt. Good thing for a tavern owner, as the pitchers of beer we ordered helped, but if a salt-a-holic like me is telling you to make sure you brush most of the salt off, then it’s a good idea to do so. Old Bay can be asked for on the side. Speaking of sides, they were nothing special, but we were there for the crabs, as were many other folks who came in after us.

Sambo's Dining Room

And one last bit of advice- leave yourself plenty of time to devour your crabs, and don’t try to rush through them like we did. A dozen is a lot, even for a couple of crab lovers like Retro Roadhusband and me, so keep that in mind too. RetroBrotherInLaw was pleased to find we had a number of crabs left over, and considered them a fine payment for taking care of RetroRoadDog for us!

(Update 10/1/10 – Sambo’s closes for the season on Sat Oct 30. From the Sambo’s Facebook Page update: Come in to visit us this month and enjoy your last taste of steamed crabs or any other menu favorites. We close for the season on October 30th and will re-open on April 1st, 2011. Make a note of it!)

Sambo’s Tavern
283 Front St
Dover, DE 19901

(Credit cards accepted for orders over $25)

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I can’t tell you how delighted I was to re-visit Main Street in Newark Delaware to find 3 of my favorite old fashioned businesses still going strong. Next time you need a tasty breakfast, baked goods or random sundries from a 5 and 10, head to this stretch of road near the University of Delaware and enjoy a day on good old Main Street. Just remember it’s New-ARK, like Noah built!

Bing’s Bakery 235 East Main Street

Bing's Bakery Exterior

I used to work across the street from Bing’s and was always charmed by their signage and turquoise, pegboard and knotty pine interior, and was tickled to see that the new owners had not messed with this classic look.
Knotty Pine and Turquoise, I Love It!

Founded in 1946 by Russell and Selina Bing, the bakery changed hands in 2005 when Selina turned the keys over to her head baker of 9 years, Tom Guzzi and his wife, Carla Guzzi. Delaware’s “longest running” bakery was abuzz with customers when I was there, from regulars picking up donuts, to a young couple discussing their wedding cake.
Bing's Bakery Wedding Cakes
A pleasant counter gal helped me buy my bag of sunflower shaped sugar cookies, and when I asked how long the bakery had been there, a wonderfully friendly customer chimed in that her sister had been married in 1959 and got her wedding cake from Bing’s. She added that it was great that this place was still around, being one of the only bakeries left in New Castle County, and I have to agree!
Bing The Baker

Bing’s Bakery
253 East Main Street
Newark, DE 19711-7314
(302) 737-5310

The Post House Restaurant 145 East Main Street

I used to love the simplicity of the Post House restaurant, with its minimalist mid century brick exterior and interior with a long countertop and burgundy banquettes for waiting. Somehow it felt more like a diner than the “real” diner on the next corner!
Post House Restaurant Exterior
Oh how happy I was to find that Retro Roadhusband’s report that the Post House was closed was an error on his part, and this great little lunch counter was still in business! I sat myself down at the counter and ordered myself a breakfast sandwich and reveled in the fact that this place really hadn’t changed much since it opened at this location in 1956.
Post House Restaurant InteriorInteresting counter story- I wasn’t necessarily eves-dropping but I could not help but hear the two gentlemen to my side discussing what I thought was a sports team- only to see when they stood up, that the Sonic they were referring to was the corporate drive in chain, as confirmed by the logo embroidered on one man’s shirt. I thought it was a sweet victory indeed that even the folks making the joy of a car hop restaurant a little bit more generic could appreciate the actual authenticity of a place like the Post House.
Post House Restaurant Counter

Post House Restaurant
145 East Main Street
Newark, DE 19711-7313
(302) 368-3459

National 5 and 10 66 East Main Street

And last but not least, how could I neglect the National 5 and 10 store, with its cheery red sign and fabulous brushed stainless letters?

National 5 & 10 Newark DE
Still family owned and operated, this business has been in the Handloff family since 1911 and at this location since 1931.
Louis Handloff National 5 & 10
I had driven past this location scads of times but rarely ventured in, since I had little interest in purchasing something with the Delaware insignia on it. And boy, do they have plenty of Delawareabilia here at the 5 & 10, more than I’ve ever seen in my life! But luckily for me, they had plenty of other useful items to choose from.
5 & 10 Shopping Carts
Towards the back half of the store it goes from college insiginia-ville to a regular Woolworth type store, with household goods, plastic toys, hardware items and keys to be cut. I happily purchased a couple of yards of clear plastic table covering for the Hacienda kitchen, and think I like the paper liner even more than the vinyl liner!
Tablecloth Liner Liner(However the plastic does come in handy so I can actually use the Pennsylvania Dutch tablecloth I bought at Roadside America, with little fear of messing it up.)

I don’t think the young gent behind the counter shared my admiration of the cashier sign behind him, as I snapped a photo, but who knows? Maybe he’ll look at it with fresh eyes after my exclaiming how cool it was!

Cashiers Pay Here

National 5 & 10 Store
66 East Main Street
Newark, DE 19711
(302) 368-1646

So if you’re in the mood for some real Main Street shopping, don’t go to a faux outdoor mall that calls itself Main Street, support the real deal, on Main Street in Newark Delaware!

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I am happy to report that the Clayton Theatre in Dagsboro DE looks better than ever! The only single screen movie theater in the state of Delaware, it also has a glorious vintage neon sign which is beautiful to behold when lit up. Here’s what I wrote about it back in 2003, in my very first Bystander column, “How To Go To The Movies In Delaware Without Once Setting Foot In A Multiplex”:

Clayton Theatre Dagsboro DE

Joanne Howe knew that she and her husband Ed were destined to own the Clayton Theatre in Dagsboro Delaware. Not only did the movie theater share its name with Joanne’s recently deceased father, but upon entering the lobby they were met with the sight of a vintage poster for the movie “The Sands of Iwo Jima”- where her aforementioned dad fought.They purchased the moviehouse in 2001 and have been continuing the legacy of Sussex county’s only single-screen theatre ever since.

Built in 1948, the Clayton is well maintained and has never had to suffer neglect through an extended closing. The theatre boasts a new paint job and carpets, and while the 315 seats are vintage (though not original to the theatre) they are surprisingly comfortable.

The most striking aspect of the theatre is the towering neon marquee out front. When illuminated-for the first time in 15 years, thanks to the Howes- it acts like a beacon, luring folks from near and far like moths to the screen. Family-friendly, the features are first run and tend to show for a couple of weeks.

The prices are wallet friendly too and can you believe it, snacks are in the civilized $1-3 range. Remember folks, this is typically where theatre owners make money to keep operating, so arrive hungry to help ‘em out.

Clayton Theatre
900 Main St
Dagsboro, DE 19939
(302) 732-3744

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I am thrilled to report that two of the places I wrote back in the day about for my Bystander Unchained column are still going strong! First up we have the vintage costume jewelry and accessories mecca, The Millsboro Bazaar in Millsboro Delaware.

Millsboro Bazaar Millsboro DE

I was in luck today when owner Dave Mayer was behind the counter and I was able to catch up with him to see if anything had changed since the last time I wrote about his emporium of vintage housewares, vintage clothing and vintage jewelry. Now celebrating his 20th year in this location, business is just swell, which was heartening to hear, with this economic climate.

Here’s what I wrote about the Millsboro Bazaar back in June of 2003:

The jewel in the crown of the Millsboro DE Main Street antiques selection is the Millsboro Bazaar, especially if your favorite jewel is a big glittery rhinestone. Owned and operated for over 14 years by sole proprietor Dave Mayer, the Bazaar is home to what could easily be the largest selection of costume jewelry on the East Coast. Dave confides in us that he probably has as much in storage as he does on display- which is mind boggling as you begin to examine case after case of baubles, brooches and bright shiny bangles.

Vintage Costume Jewelry Millsboro Bazaar Delaware

If you like to adorn your abode as well as your bod this is the place to go for mid-century (20th, of course) dish’n’glassware, furniture, lamps and ephemera. Don’t forget to check out the bargain basement and as-is room too! Everything in the place is neat and attractively arranged, making it easy to furnish your retro beachside bungalow in one visit.

Speaking of your mod bod, head up to the second level and you will find vintage clothing at every turn. The ceiling almost totally obscured by colorful hats, there are rooms filled with clothes for guys and gals. Whether you are Twiggy skinny or broad where a broad should be broad, there is bound to be something here from the era when your body type was in vogue. Find something to flatter your figure!

There always seems to be a sale of sorts going on at the Bazaar, so it is easy to coordinate an ensemble from hat to shoe without emptying out your vintage purse. Also you can rest assured that you will not see someone wearing togs like yours when you are out and about- can’t guarantee that at the mall.

Millsboro Bazaar
238 W Main St
Millsboro, DE 19966
(302) 934-7413

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The Milford Diner has a kickin’ diner sign!

Milford Diner Delaware( I just wish they didn’t cover over the diner!)

Milford Diner Sign
1042 N Walnut St
Milford, DE 19963-1222
(302) 422-6111

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Abandoned Luncheonette 2009 3

Driving down Route 113 in Ellendale Delaware I caught a glimpse of stainless steel and red behind the foliage. I turned the car around immediately and honestly didn’t see the Keep Out sign as I pulled in the driveway for a closer look – I only see it now from across the highway as I type this on my phone from the parking area of the Ellendale Tract of the Redden State forest. (I  mention that as that was actually what I was looking at right before I spied the diner, and it’s just across the street, if you’re in the area and looking for a landmark.)
I am thinking this might be a diner that used to be English’s Chicken, if only because I was just wondering whatever happened to that diner and I think it was around here. You never know what you’re gonna find on a retro road trip!!! Sent from my iPhone

UPDATE! Our pals at Roadside have the insider skinny about this diner, it’s for sale. Read about it on their website:

Roadside / Diner For Sale: English’s Diner

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