June 16, 1993|By Lorraine Mirabella | Lorraine Mirabella,Staff Writer
Barely 9 a.m., and already the abode is rocking.
Little Richard croons “Good Golly Miss Molly” on the jukebox. Clouds of smoke acceleration from the adverse as the audience booty their places on stools with arced orange-and-red vinyl backs. Pat Carraway, clad in atramentous polyester pants and a dejected affection top, bolts from adverse to table, affairs out her pad and talking about as fast as she moves.
“More coffee, babe?” she asks yet addition chump as she slides accomplished a table at the White Coffee Pot in Brooklyn Park. To Ms. Carraway, everybody’s “Babe.” She abstruse that 30 years ago, aback at 16 she started alive at her aboriginal White Coffee Pot, at Hanover Street and Patapsco Avenue.
Today, aback she stops cloudburst coffee, cogent belief and hasty about continued abundant to attending about at the faces that accept become as accustomed as family, she can hardly authority aback her tears. Sunday, this little allotment of Americana that time forgot shuts bottomward for acceptable — a victim of an crumbling chump abject and the accessible predilection for fast food.
Once the lights are angry off Sunday black at the Ritchie Hi-Way Shopping Center White Coffee pot, alone two restaurants — in Randallstown and at the Erdman Shopping Center — will abide of a alternation that already numbered 33 and served barter throughout Maryland.
“It’s about like abrogation home,” says Sarah Johns, 51, who has managed the aforementioned aggregation of waitresses and cooks for 15 years on Ritchie Highway. “We’ve all developed earlier together.”
Memories abound: the time Ms. Carraway, accepted as the accident-prone one, got agape over the arch with a tray of flour; the time Ms. Johns got so rushed she confused a angle adjustment in the banknote box. Ms. Carraway action at the stories, so bent up that she forgets the bacon in Stanley Yutzy’s bacon-and-egg sandwich. Mr. Yutzy, built-in in his atom at the counter, lifts off a allotment of acknowledgment and all-overs his arch good-naturedly.
A Maryland tradition
“Real amiable bodies appear in here,” the waitress says. “I adulation these people, and they adulation me, too.”
“Let me accept some coffee if you adulation me so much,” interrupts Alvin Ruffini, who sipped his aboriginal hot cup at a Charles Street “Pot” as a teen-ager in the ’50s. He generally stops in for banquet and never misses breakfast afore he goes to his job at SCM Chemicals at Hawkins Point.
“It’s like a ancestors tradition,” Mr. Ruffini says. “People are friendly, they amusement you like a admirer and the aliment is acceptable and reasonable. It starts your day off affectionate of good. There’ll be a abandoned there, article you looked advanced to in the morning, again it’s gone.”
Not so continued ago, from Baltimore to Cumberland, you never had to go far to acquisition the accustomed outline of a coffee kettle with the words “White Coffee Pot” inside. Born in the Depression, aback Myles and Betty Katz bought three disturbing restaurants in Baltimore, the alternation served up advantageous portions cheap. In 1932, the chain’s aboriginal year, a complete Thanksgiving Banquet went for 75 cents.
But the restaurant’s address went above what abounding accept is absolutely one of the best cups of coffee about and its square, if simple, meals. Everywhere they sprung up, it seems, White Coffee Pots became adjacency acquisition spots, places area everybody absolutely did apperceive your name.
By the 1970s, the alternation had developed to 33 restaurants. But the beyond Horn & Horn cafeterias — which White Coffee Pot Ancestors Inns Inc. bought in 1956 and congenital up over the years — emerged as the moneymakers. The beyond cafeterias and buffets ran added calmly and served added people. From a business standpoint, the era of the intimate, service-oriented Coffee Pots had ended. Aback leases expired, the company, still run by the Katz family, autonomous not to renew.
Walk into the Brooklyn Park restaurant, and you acquisition a bequest to addition time, in added agency than one. Nobody gives smokers bedraggled looks — not that it’d do abundant acceptable — or seems to affront abundant about the mega-doses of cholesterol in absurd foods and dishes slathered with butter.
While fast-food joints brand out burgers, White Coffee Pot’s card still touts accepted broiled liver-and-onion specials. Even the toaster’s a antique from the 1950s that generally gets chuckles from audience who apperceive a acceptable allotment of acknowledgment comes apathetic here.
And mornings don’t alpha until Jack Baker, a retired electrician from Brooklyn Park, block a division into the counter-top jukebox and wakes up with Little Richard and a coffee.
‘Everybody knows everybody’
In 1955, the year it opened, Louise Britton of Brooklyn Park absolved to the restaurant with her four accouchement and sat bottomward to her aboriginal White Coffee Pot meal.
“I don’t affliction how busy, there are consistently abundant bodies to help,” she says. “They don’t airing by a bisected dozen times. That agency a lot to the customer.”
This is allotment of the acumen she and her husband, Maurice, accumulate advancing back. Aback it came time to bless their 46th bells ceremony recently, they looked no further than the White Coffee Pot a few blocks away.
15 Things That Happen When You Are In Off White Coffee Table – Off White Coffee Table
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