Little Taverns (page 1)

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The Little Tavern hamburger chain was established by Harry F. Duncan in Louisville, KY in 1927. He opened five locations there in the first year. In 1928, Duncan moved to Washington, DC and opened the first of many locations there. By the 1940s, there were almost 50 Little Tavern Shops throughout the D.C./Baltimore area. In 1972, 42 were still in operation. However, by 1991, there were only 20 left. The remaining location closed in 2009. Several buildings still exist and have been repurposed. Unfortunately, most of the best examples have been demolished in recent years. None of these survivors retain the chain's "Buy 'Em By the Bag" signs. This slogan was obviously inspired by White Castle's "Buy 'Em By the Sack" which I believe originated in the 1920s. The first few Little Tavern buildings bore a strong resemblance to those of White Castle. However, by 1928, Little Tavern switched from the mini castle look to its Tudor cottage design. These prefabricated buildings were faced with porcleain enamel tiles. For more, see these websites: 1 and 2.

Little Tavern [gone]
Conkling St. (Baltimore, MD)
The Conkling St. location had been up for sale for several years. Most of its interior had already been gutted. Sadly, it was demolished along with the Grand Theatre in 2003. I believe this was built in 1931 as the fifth location in Baltimore.

former Little Tavern
25th St. (Baltimore, MD)
The 25th St. location is now Pizza Deal and looks a little shabby. The first two photos are from 2003. The third photo from 2010 shows the building has been painted white.

Stone Tavern
25th St. (Baltimore, MD)
former Little Tavern
Park Avenue (Baltimore, MD)
Just across the street from the 25th St. Little Tavern is the Stone Tavern. This building could have been a Little Tavern originally. It's possible that it might be from the 1930s and updated with stone later.

The Park Avenue location served as a pub for the adjoining Lighthouse Restaurant when the photo at the left was taken in 2003. By 2010 (right photo), the building was occupied by the Park Avenue Grill. Later that year, it became Tony's.

former Little Tavern [gone]
Belvedere Avenue (Baltimore, MD)
The Belvedere Avenue location was being used by a church group in 2003 when these photos were taken. By 2010, the building was gone.

Little Tavern [gone]
Holabird Ave. (Baltimore, MD)
Little Tavern [gone]
Eastern Ave. (Baltimore, MD)
This Holabird Ave. location was the last to close. It opened in 1983 and closed in 2008. It is believed that this building was used by another business before Little Tavern moved in. The building was recently used by a used car dealership. The LT awnings were removed but part of the pole sign was still there in 2010.

The Eastern Ave. location was still fairly intact in 2004 when this photo was taken. There were still the original stools and green signs inside. I assume this Little Tavern never had a peaked roof and was designed to fit in this downtown storefront location. By 2010, the ground floor was occupied by the Corned Beef Factory and the fašade was gone and interior remodeled.

former Little Tavern
Greenmount Ave. (Baltimore, MD)
The Greenmount Ave. location was used as a Kennedy Fried Chicken for many years. The first photo was taken in 2003. The second and third photos from 2010 show the building with its present occupant, Sea Blue. The Little Tavern roof and fašade remain fairly intact. This location still retains the White Castle style brickwork on the side. For more, see these websites: 1 and 2.

former Little Tavern
Laurel, MD
2007: 2010:
The Laurel location was still a fully-functioning and unadulterated example of the chain in 2003 when the top rows of photos were taken. It closed and was put up for sale in 2006. In 2007, the interior was gutted and the building was converted into Laurel Tavern Donuts. The signs were saved and are in a private collection.

Little Taverns
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