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June 12th, 2001

The Five and Dime (with Food)

One of the store concepts whose time has come and gone is the five-and-dime store.

I remember quite fondly from my childhood the trips to Woolworths and G.C. Murphy. Both of these places weren’t very large and, in fact, were in the same plaza near my house. Murphy’s had two levels. The top floor featured a small arcade, a diner (with a long bar only), and various departments. The lower level was where the action was though: this was the toy department, plus, arts and crafts and seasonal goods. The floors were a strange brown checkerboard, and the toy selection was never great. But you could always get a drink upstairs at the bar if you wanted to.

Woolworths was a tad more conventional. Everything was on one floor, and the dining area had booths – along with surprisingly good food. There was a large pet department and a sizable clothing department, but Woolworths was most famous to me for its candy department.

The idea of eating at a store is fading away. While Wal-Marts have McDonald’s in some cases, and K-Marts still have cafes, it’s not the same as having a greasy spoon next to a row of fishtanks. Also of note is that the Walgreens in that same plaza used to have a full sit-down restaurant, too.

Today, the space that was Murphy’s is an Office Depot – bland as any other office store, and one level only. Woolworths went empty for years before a half-baked Foot Locker took its place. And the Walgreens restaurant long ago became the Walgreens liquor department. -pm

Posted in Miscellaneous

Don Fowler October 6, 2006, 7:50 pm

Does anyone remember the “beef-n-burger” that was served at the People’s Drug Store lunch counter? It was kind of a sloppy joe.

Does anyone have the recipe?

Diane Sylvia May 14, 2007, 11:01 pm

Love the posts! When I was 12, I worked as a “short-order” cook in a place named Hart’s Luncheonette in East Millstone, NJ. Not exactly a place where they sold gold-fish, but next to the local beauty shop, it was the most happening place in town for seeing people and listening to stories. They had penny candy behind a glass counter, served wonderful eggs and porkroll,hamburgers, and the best icecream sodas ever! Plus, the Post Office was in the adjacent room, so the regulars could have coffee and read their mail. Learned my best cooking and work skills there…although I do wonder if the hotdog I rolled off the grill is still behind it. Not sure if Hart’s is still there, but it might be!

Billy J July 11, 2007, 8:42 am

anyone remember the sloppy joes at woolworths in Passaic NJ.

Would love to know what they were made of

Larry Russ June 18, 2008, 9:47 pm

I would like the recipe for the Sloppy Joe that was served at the Woolworth’s located @ Eureka and Jefferson in Wyandotte, MI

Phoebie August 22, 2009, 6:28 pm

Wow,I remember People’s Drug Stores….they were everywhere!! I dearly loved the *Beef-n-burger*. I have not been able to locate the recipe.

Has anyone found it yet?

don fowler September 4, 2009, 7:20 pm

experimented with a recipe for the old People’s Drug Beef-N-Burger.

It seems to taste right.
Try this..
2 lb lean ground sirloin – fry and break up into smallest pieces you can

1/2 cup yellow onion – chopped as fine as you can

1/3 cup ketchup

1 1/2 Tablespoons of sweet pickle relish

1/4 cup beef broth if using a very lean ground beef

Salt/pepper to taste

Pam the frying pan

Brown the meat with the onion on low heat.

Stir in the other ingredients

Simmer for ten to fifteen minutes

Serve on hamburger bun.

It’s even better letting it sit longer.

don fowler September 5, 2009, 12:31 pm

experimented with a recipe for the old People’s Drug Beef-N-Burger. It seems to taste right.

Try this..

2 lb lean ground sirloin – fry and break up into smallest pieces you can
1/2 cup yellow onion – chopped as fine as you can
1/3 cup ketchup
1 1/2 Tablespoons of sweet relish
Salt/pepper to taste
If you use very lean ground beef, you might wish to add 1/4 cup of beef broth

Pam the frying pan
Brown the meat with the onion on low heat.
Stir in other ingredients
Simmer for ten to fifteen minutes

Serve on hamburger bun.

It’s even better letting it sit longer!

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