What Michigan Coffee Shops Used To Be: 1900-1975
Coffee shops of the 2000s ain't nothin' like the coffee shops of fifty or more years ago.
A coffee shop today is usually a small place which has a main menu of nothing but coffees: flavored, levels of roast, assorted sizes, cappuccinos, latte's and other fancy-schmancy stuff. As for food, there are occasionally small sandwiches, bagels, muffins, large flat cookies, etc. Basically finger food that goes well with a few cups of coffee. There are a few tables, but never enough. People come in to sit, sip, and read.
Compare that to the 'coffee shops' of past decades.
From the 1960s and further, a coffee shop had different names: diner, cafe', roadside stand, tea room, truck stop, greasy spoon, lunch room, and cafeteria.
Some had a counter with stools.
Some were restaurant-size, with many tables.
All served food, like burgers, fried chicken, and steaks.
These were basically what we refer to now as 'regular' small restaurants...but many sported the moniker of 'cafe' or 'coffee shop' to lure passing motorists in to have some coffee in order to stay awake on the road.
They were actually more enjoyable to visit than a bigger upscale restaurant.....casual, noisy, and simple food...and they ALWAYS had great coffee. Do you ever notice how great gas station coffee tastes? Sometimes MUCH better than coffee shop coffees...that's what the coffee shop coffee was like back in the 1920s thru the 1960s. Small, simple, awesome.
Below is a gallery of many old 'coffee shops' going as far back as the early 1900s. And fortunately, there are still many of these along the Michigan roadside. Next time you're trippin' thru Michigan, stop at some. Most of the time, you'll dig the coffee and atmosphere.
Michigan's Coffee Shops, 1900 - 1975