Monday, August 20, 2012

Great Googie!

Char-Grill in Raleigh is an old, old burger stand started in 1959 that still manages to do things right- fresh beef grilled to perfection with the aroma wafting for blocks. There are a few of them now but they all must bow to the 1950s original downtown.
Hard to miss from the street, Char-Grill was built in the architectural style is known as 'googie.' Googie predates 'Google' by over 40 years and signifies that familiar Mid-Century roadside style dominated by rocket ship and satellite motifs that guys my age knew when we were kids.

Although the style had existed on the West Coast since the Thirties, it really went nationwide in the 1950s when the automobile left an indelible imprint on the suburban landscape. Hotels, restaurants and gas stations competed with one another to capture the attention and imagination of the car-traveling American family. Sweeping cantilevered arches, gleaming steel and flashing neon helped to lure families off of the new interstates and commercial thoroughfares. Not accepted by the purer faith of Modernist design or by the public after the 1960s, much of this architecture was demolished. But, luckily, the Char-Grill building still stands and reminds customers today of the hopeful aesthetic of yesteryear's car culture.

Also from that era, this is the gas station next door to Char-Grill.
P.S. - Just last week, the service station next door removed the front overhead lights from the 1960s and replaced it with a big shelter of the pumps like you see at most gas stations now. Just goes to show that these old treasures are are quickly going away so get out and look for them!


Joe Bob said...

Are the root beer floats any good there?

Siberian Smuggler said...

I like Hamburglar. Do they have person dressed like Hamburglar in this place? What about babushka lady in painting, does she go there and eat delicious hamburger?

Trailer Trad said...

Joe Bob,
I don't know about floats but they make a mean shake.

Mr. Smuggler,
You'll be glad to know that I have real, authentic McDonalds Hamburgler doll from the early 70's. Kinda scary looking...

The model in the painting probably posed for it in the Mid 20th Century so, theoretically, she could have frequented Char-Grills. -And those girls back then ate REAL FOOD and didn't worry about it!

Siberian Smuggler said...

I like real woman not hipster trad. I like when woman done with her burger and fries and shake, she dance to Chubby Checker. I also like American mid-century roadside attractions - so wonderful in their quaintness. We have nothing like this in Siberia, and a man can only take so much salt pork and vodka in the confines of his small cell. Thank you, Mr. Trad, for showing this to me. And thank you, President Reagan, for opening up your civilization to us. I love Hamburglar.