Lebanon’s historic family restaurants and diners: Then and now


From Lebanon has had a long history of family restaurants and diners.

A family restaurant is an eating establishment that serves relatively simple food at reasonable prices, and caters to children as well as adults. Similarly, a diner is a small quintessentially family friendly American restaurant that serves mostly inexpensive American cuisine in a casual atmosphere and typically includes a long sit-down counter and booths.

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L.A. Mayor Karen Bass Rescinds Order to Light Up Hollywood Sign



From the Hollywood Reporter: Los Angeles’ newly installed mayor, Karen Bass, has rescinded an order to light up the Hollywood sign.

Her predecessor, Eric Garcetti, had signed the order Dec. 11, his last day in office, noting that the 100th anniversary of the sign is approaching in 2023. “There is perhaps no symbol more significant in the world and in Los Angeles’ civic imagination than the Hollywood Sign,” he wrote, adding: “As the centennial of the Hollywood Sign approaches in the coming months, it would seem fitting to build on these successful efforts to illuminate our city’s most famous landmark.”

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Is Waffle House Southern? A new book hashes out the diner’s cultural resonances



From Atlanta Magazine: “Waffle House is much like the South itself,” says Ty Matejowsky—a straightforward enough observation, on its face. Everybody knows Waffle House is a Southern icon. But why?

One of the central insights of Matejowsky’s new book, Smothered and Covered: Waffle House and the Southern Imaginary, is that whatever Southern-ness we find at Waffle House has as much to do with what we want to find there as with whatever the chain is serving. Waffle House is not Cracker Barrel, leaning into regional kitsch and nostalgic cliche; its own mottos and catchphrases (“America’s best place to eat”) are resolutely bland. Its advertising asserts little sense of a Southern identity, allowing the restaurant to be a “blank canvas” for other people’s projections, Matejowsky told me: “Some people see the South as a backwoods, hostile place; other people think it’s the greatest thing ever. You have similar dichotomies in the way Waffle House is viewed.”

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SLO group plans to restore 2 historic motels in Paso Robles. Here’s what’s planned


The River Lodge Motel in Paso Robles is undergoing renovations and will reopen to the public in summer 2023. LAURA DICKINSON

From The Tribune: Two historic motels in Paso Robles will get a new life in 2023, giving tourists lodging options that capture the spirit of this Central Coast city. The River Lodge Motel off Highway 101 and the Farmhouse Motel downtown were acquired by the San Luis Obispo-based Nomada Hotel Group, which plans to renovate and restore the properties to make them attractive to wine country tourists while still maintaining the integrity and character of their mid-century architecture, Nomada Hotel Group owner Kimberly Walker said.

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The Night Hawk: For photographer Dave Jordano, Chicago’s storefronts are best seen after dark.


From Chicago Magazine: There’s something different about Chicago at night. When the sun sets and the city lights up, Dave Jordano ventures out, driving around for hours at a time in search of subjects to photograph. Jordano trains his camera not on the glittering skyscrapers of the Loop but on regular neighborhood businesses that dot the city streets: the shops, restaurants, convenience stores, bars, and motels that give Chicago its unique charm. For Jordano, these establishments, beckoning with the warm glow of their retro signage against the night sky, aren’t just aesthetically interesting reminders of a bygone time — they are institutions of the neighborhood. “I don’t go to Macy’s and photograph,” Jordano says. “I love the little independent storefront operations and what they provide. These are important elements, I think, to how a city exists and how the whole fabric of the city comes together.” —Stanley Kay

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