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Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Tray Chic: Celebrating Indiana's Cafeteria Culture by Sam Stall

A fun, fascinating read

Cafeterias.

"They're about as state-of-the-art as a brontosaurus. And almost as rare. Unless you live in Indiana." (p. 6)

Indiana, with its love of tradition (or is it fear of change?) has somehow kept the traditional cafeterias open and thriving, especially in central Indiana.


In Tray Chic: Celebrating Indiana's Cafeteria Culture, Sam Stall explores the history of cafeterias in general and then explores the particular restaurants that have survived from those days of the dinosaur until today, including the recently closed "Laughner's"(the granddaddy of them all), MCL (the biggest chain), Gray Brothers (probably the best), Poe's (located just a stone's throw from Gray's - it gets a lot of their overflow business) and Jonathan Byrd's (with the biggest cafeteria line in the world). Add to that a cafeteria in Oolitic and Shapiro's, a cafeteria that disguises itself as a deli, throw in a discussion concerning the differences between a cafeteria and a buffet, add lots of humor and great interviews with these successful business owners and you have the recipe for a fun, breezy read about a bit of Hoosier culture.

A must for that proud devotee of that Hoosier culture.

I rate this book 5 stars out of 5.

Reviewed on November 6, 2009.

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