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Virginia Eateries

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former Do-Nut Dinette
Norfolk, VA
former Do-Nut Dinette (now Fanny's Restaurant)
Falls Church, VA
former Do-Nut Dinette
Winchester, VA
2008: 2011:
The Do-Nut Dinette chain seems to have originated in Charlotte, NC. I'm not sure how far-reaching the chain was but there were at least a couple dozen locations. There are still a handful of buildings left. There were other Do-Nut Dinettes in Waynesboro, VA and Orlando, FL with this same building style. There was another one in Wheaton, MD which has also been demolished. See this 1948 patent for what these buildings looked like originally. For more, see this website.

This Do-Nut Dinette in Norfolk opened in 1952 and has always been strictly counter service. They make their own donuts and feature a pale green formica interior (part of a 1960s remodeling). The place closed in 2005 just after these photos were taken. The building's fate was uncertain until 2006 when it reopened under new management. In 2015, the building was remodeled. It now houses the Little Dog Diner. [map]

This Do-Nut Dinette in Falls Church housed Victor's Grill when these photos were taken in 2006. It operated as the Do-Nut Dinette until at least 1975. The building now houses Fanny's Restaurant. [photos thanks John Hertel] [map]

This Do-Nut Dinette in Winchester housed the Donut Castle in 2005. It was known as the North Loudoun Diner and painted bright green in 2008. Since then, it has become the Apple Valley Cafe. The building still retains the donut shaped rooftop sign. [map]

A location in Front Royal, VA was known as the Fox Diner in 2003. However, the building was vacant and in poor shape when I saw it in 2008 and the sign had been removed. Just a couple months later, it was demolished. For more, see this website.

Snow White Grill
Winchester, VA
The Snow White Grill was part of a chain which was founded in 1939 in Frederick, MD. This location was built around 1948. There were at least nine locations built. There is a remodeled building in Frederick, MD. Luther Reason Ray of the Structural Porcelain Enamel Company designed these buildings as well as Little Taverns and Hot Shoppes. All of these buildings were faced with porcelain enamel panels.

Burger Bar
Bristol, VA
The Burger Bar opened here in 1942. The sign features a running Frisch-like boy. [map]

Texas Tavern
Roanoke, VA
The Texas Tavern opened in 1930 and is best known for its burgers, hot dogs and chile. Its motto is "we can seat 1,000 - 10 at a time". For more, see this website. [map]

Little Chef [gone]
Roanoke, VA

2003:

2009:
The Little Chef opened in 1950 and had car hops at one time. The interior walls are metal and there is a separate cocktail lounge. The building was manufactured by Valentine which produced many small diners bearing the Little Chef name. This restaurant went by the name of "Gary's Little Chef" from 1986-1999. It closed in 1999 but reopened the same year. It closed again in 2004 and was going to be demolished. However, new owners reopened the restaurant in 2005. The sign once featured a clock and more neon. In 2012, the place closed again. The building was demolished in 2015. The sign was saved by a collector.

Mighty Midget Kitchen (now Doner Bistro)
Leesburg, VA
The Mighty Midget Kitchen opened in 1947 with a tiny kitchen fashioned from the fuselage of a WWII Bomber. There were seven of these buildings made by a company is Glendale, CA. Most were used as food stands and one was a newsstand. This is believed to be the only structure left. The Mighty Midget was famous for BBQ which was cooked on a smoker behind the building. The Mighty Midget closed in 1994 and was moved from a few blocks away to this spot in 1996 where it operated for many years. In 2008, the restaurant reopened as the "Doner Bistro". For more, see these websites: 1 and 2. [map]

Waffle Shop
Alexandria, VA
This Waffle Shop was part of a chain that I believe was started in the 1950s. There were two others in Washington, DC which have both been demolished. There may have been other locations as well but, as far as I know, this is the only one left. [map]

Horne's Restaurant
Port Royal, VA
The Horne's Restaurant chain was founded in 1948. By 1967, there were 70 restaurants and 13 motor lodges in 15 states and Ontario. This Port Royal location was built in 1960 and is the last Horne's in operation. For more, see these websites: 1 and 2. [map]

former Ray's Kingburger
Wytheville, VA
former Maryland Fried Chicken
Bristol, VA
This former Ray's Kingburger now houses a LoanMax office. Before that, it housed a Dairy Queen. This location was probably built in the late 1960s. [map]

This Maryland Fried Chicken was one of the surviving examples of this defunct Southern chain. These photos are from 2007. By 2013, this location had closed. The signs were removed from the building. In 2014, Doughnut World moved into the building. The pole sign was adapted. For some other locations, see these websites: 1, 2, and 3. [map]

More Ray's Kingburgers:
Blacksburg
Marion
Martinsville, VA
Radford [vintage]
Roanoke

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