Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Tea Rooms & Restaurant China

OK, fellow dish detectives, I need your help! Especially those of you who ever visited Rich's tea room, the Magnolia Room, in Atlanta. I bought this egg cup recently because it is said to be the pattern that was made for the Rich's tea room. I've shown it to one friend who used to go there, but she doesn't remember what sort of china they used. Do any of you?

Although this piece was listed as an egg cup, I've also seen it referred to as a custard cup, so it seems to me this 3-inch tall piece might have been used for desserts. The helpful eBay seller I bought it from led me to a website where I learned this piece dates to 1948. Now, I'm just hoping to find someone who personally recalls seeing it at Rich's! (And Cynda from Newnan, if you happen to be reading today, I'd like to pick your brain a bit if you don't mind contacting me via the e-mail button at right!)

Another piece that I know for sure came from an old department store is this 10-inch wide scalloped dish marked Parco. It came from the Denver Dry Goods Co. in Denver, Colorado, and the Parco name? Well, this involves a fun little story. A Denver-based oil company, the Producers and Refiners Corporation, constructed this town in Wyoming between 1923 and 1926 and named it Parco, which stands for "P"roducers "A"nd "R"efiners "CO"rporation. I believe this dish was probably used at The Parco, a hotel in the town, whose name was later changed to Sinclair.

With the oil company based in Denver, it's not hard to imagine that the Denver Dry Goods store was sought to acquire some restaurant dishes for workers there in Parco. These are by Mayer China, a name which keeps coming up in my research of old department store dishes. If any other history lover out there knows more about Denver Dry Goods, its famous tea room "The Denver" and/or Parco, please share!

They say when you've got three of something you've got a collection, so I guess this third piece of restaurant ware makes me a collector! We've got a great new antique store on the square in Newnan called Grannie Fannie's, and when I was in one day last week I found this dish, which some of you may recognize as the piece I used in Saturday's post about tea sandwiches. I recognized this as restaurant ware because of the thickness, and the pretty Strawberry Hill pattern reminds me of Red Willow, the pattern similar to Blue Willow. Now, I'm curious to learn which restaurant(s?) used this particular restaurant ware.

I'm just starting to learn a little about Syracuse since that is also the company that made the egg/custard cup above. Do any of you collect restaurant ware? I never thought I would because it's not the pretty English bone china I so love, but since at least some of these pieces have a "tea room legacy," they have led me down yet another collecting and researching path!


  1. Interesting! Good luck with your detective work.

  2. this is very interesting. I have never heard of resturant ware collecting but I will surely follow this for more details. I love the idea!! I invite you to a new link up Tea Party..you have so many wonderful things to share. I would love to have you join the party fun! http://sweetology101.blogspot.com/2011/05/tea-party-tuesday-first-offical-link-up.html

    Plus..I wrote a inital thank you to you for the giveaway...and "made you" a nice tea treat! :)

  3. This is a fun investigation and I can't wait to read more about it!

  4. My restaurant ware detective skills are a little rusty (okay, maybe non-existent), but these are interesting pieces. I like the geometric colored block pattern on the first one.

    Thanks for another interesting post.

  5. This is an interesting collection. I'm not into restaurant ware. I don't have space for all the stuff I already have collected.

  6. This could be a case for the fictional Nancy Drew who along with her chums visited many tea rooms.

  7. Just ran across your blog, I spent many times @ Rich's tea room w/ my grandmother as did my sister / cousin we all remember a a very modest maybe cream color w/ edging
    but positively marked as Rich's, I
    don't remember this egg cup pattern.The reason I ran across this blog is today I found a 45 year anniversary plate from Rich's @ a thrift store for $1.99 it's off white, black rim, rich's in red,
    sterling china, anybody seen this?

  8. Barbara, I've never seen anything like that before but I certainly think you scored a great find!


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