The Aristocratic

Back in the day, if you wanted a cuppa Joe or a hamburger on old SG, there was only one place to go: The Aristocratic. Standing on the site of present day Chapter's Books, at Broadway and Granville, the Aristocratic was where it was at. With locations all over town, the Aristocratic was the foremost chain in Vancouver with up to a dozen locations. But when things went bad and the locations closed, only the one at Broadway and Granville remained.  

This is the third in a series of posts where we'll take a peek into the days of yore on Old South Granville. You might have seen this photo before. I have a personal penchant for old signs and typography so was immediately attracted by this photo and for the different signs and advertising. If the bobby socks weren't an immediate clue, the photo is from the early 1950s in the middle of the Aristocratic's heyday. If anyone has any insight into what a "Downyflake Do-nut" is, I would like to know. Maybe the girl at BC Tel knows. (That's Telus for you kids out there).

Aristocratic Restaurant, Granville Street & West Broadway, Photographer: Artray, 1951 More information www.vpl.ca/historicalphotos

Aristocratic Restaurant, Granville Street & West Broadway, Photographer: Artray, 1951

More information www.vpl.ca/historicalphotos

The restaurant seems to have had a facelift in the 1960s and a new sign was erected featuring "Risty". Dapper little fellow isn't he? Hamburgers seem to have been replaced by "Chicken Feasts" and "Snacks".

The Aristocratic, 1980 © James R. Page Do not reproduce without permission

The Aristocratic, 1980 © James R. Page

Do not reproduce without permission

Even if you don't remember it on the corner, you may have wondered about the "Risty" sign that now graces the Chapters window.  Not quite as big as the one above is it? It's actually a replica. The much larger original sign which spanned the corner piece of the building was donated to The Vancouver Museum when the Chapters site was developed in 1997. 

The restaurant was long gone by the time I moved into the neighbourhood and I never had the experience of eating there. But I do have memories of it from my days at UBC in the early 90s. The bus that took us from campus to downtown made a left turn at Broadway and Granville and momentarily paused outside the famous restaurant. For a brief moment, those of us on the bus locked eyes with those sitting at the large windows of the Aristocratic. And then in a flash, it was gone.

What about you inhabiters? What are your memories of the Aristocratic? Did you ever eat there?