The New York Cafe in the 1940s



photo courtesy Bonnie and Nick Kourvelas

In our February Dining Guide, I told readers — yes, I'm talking about you — about two well-known but long-gone dining establishments in Memphis: Foppiano's Grille on South Main, and the New York Cafe on East McLemore. I'll wait here for a few minutes while you go read that story. It's worth your time and trouble, I promise you.

Okay, you're back? Now let's proceed.

By pal Bonnie Kourvelas, the well-known local historian, sent me a couple of nice photos of the New York Cafe, since it was actually operated by one of her relatives. I ran one of them, showing the owners, Nick and Demetra Demopoulos, in the magazine's "Ask Vance" column. And now I'm sharing the other one with you here, as a special favor.

That's Nick standing behind the counter, and wow he was apparently having a busy day at the little cafe. Every seat is filled. Note the photo of President Franklin Delano Roosevelt sitting on top of the wooden bookcase (or whatever that is) in the background, and just look at all the boxes of cigars for sale at the counter. At least I think they are cigars; I can make out brand names like Friends, Bugler, and Big Ben. Were those cigar companies?

Recognize anyone in the photo? It's really a great shot; thanks for sharing it, Bonnie.

Reader Comments:
Mar 12, 2013 04:37 pm
 Posted by  producerbonnie

Thanks for running it, Vance!! We depend on you as the city's top historian. :)

Mar 12, 2013 09:36 pm
 Posted by  Anonymous

I dont think they are cigars as Bugler is a brand of tabacco that one can roll cigaretes with. The boxes in the background of the pick my indeed be cigars but the displays that we can read are loose tabacco.

Mar 12, 2013 09:56 pm
 Posted by  critter42

Not cigars, but loose cigarette tobacco for rolling your own. I don't know about the others, but I know Bugler is still around.

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Ask Vance is the blog of Vance Lauderdale, the award-winning columnist of Memphis magazine and MBQ: Inside Memphis Business.  Vance is the author of three books: Ask Vance: The Best Questions and Answers from Memphis Magazine's History and Trivia Expert (2003), as well as Ask Vance: More Questions and Answers from Memphis Magazine's History Expert (2011) and Vance Lauderdale's Lost Memphis (2013). He is also the recipient of quite a few nice awards, the creator of several eye-catching wall calendars, and the only person we know with a vintage shock-treatment machine in his den. 

You can find him from time to time in the pages of the Memphis Flyer and MBQ, on WKNO television, and on Facebook. When he is not exploring the highways and byways of Memphis, he spends his time sleeping, napping, and dozing.

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