Sunday, August 19, 2012

Royal Castle

It was a long time ago.  52 years to be exact.   The year was 1960.   I was living in Miami, Florida in my senior year of high school.   I had decided to go see the movie Psycho by Alfred Hitchcock.
Remember the scary old house up on the hill?   The theater advertised that they had a nurse on duty in the lobby to give medical attention in case anyone fainted from fright.   When I entered the theater, sure enough, there was a nurse in her white dress  uniform wearing her white nursing cap.   She was sitting at a small table in the center of the lobby with a blood pressure cuff and a stethoscope.   Do you think that having a nurse in the lobby was an advertising ploy?
This was a time before multiplexes and all of the theaters only had one screen.   It was a nice theater and I liked going there.
Yeah, this is the way theaters use to be.  They were elegant and the curtains use to open to reveal the movie screen when the film projector started.   The name of the theater was the Trail theater.    It was called this because it was located on a road called Tamiami Trail that ran from Miami on the east coast of Florida to Naples on the west coast of Florida.   At the time it was the only road that people living in South Florida could take to get from the east coast to the west coast.   I parked my car behind the theater, walked around to the front and was on my way into the theater when I met a friend from high school.   He was on a date with a girl who was also from our school.   The girl was dressed really fancy and formal.   He asked me where I was going and I told I was going to see the movie Psycho.   He said that he was going to see the movie also but first they were going out to dinner.   I looked around and said where?   He said RC steakhouse.   Looking around again I said where is it?   I was looking for a fancy steakhouse.   He said Royal Castle.   RC stood for Royal Castle and since it was a hamburger place he called it a steakhouse.   Being gullible I had fallen for his RC steakhouse routine and so had his girlfriend.
Well, there was a Royal Castle next to the movie theater and that was where he was going for dinner.   In the picture below it was in the corner of the building with the white trim.   
I looked at his date and she just rolled her eyes.   She had been expecting a fancy steakhouse and had dressed for something fancy.   In the picture below I have drawn a red circle around where the Royal Castle had been.
You probably notice the Spanish writing on the marquee in the picture above.    Miami is predominantly Hispanic now.   They restored the theater and it is now a popular playhouse.   They really did do a wonderful job on the restoration.   So what did they serve at the RC steakhouse (Royal Castle)?   Well their menu was extremely limited and about the only thing that you could get was hamburgers.   Those little tiny hamburgers that they call sliders now. 
Can you imagine this guys poor date when the waitress set this down in front of her for her to eat in her fancy clothes?   What a disappointment it must have been for her.  
Actually their hamburgers were very tasty and extremely cheap (or should I say inexpensive?).  
I thought that Royal Castle was similar to White Castle restaurants for those of you who live in the northern part of the United States.   The names were similar:  Royal Castle vs White Castle.

And their hamburgers were similar.   The picture below is a White Castle hamburger.
The Royal Castles were great in that they were open 24 hours a day and 7 days a week.   Plus they had their own emergency generators for when the power went out, like during and after hurricanes.   When the city was dark after a hurricane, you could always count on a Royal Castle being open and serving food.
There were hundreds of Royal Castle restaurants in the Miami area back in the 60's, but last I knew there were only two of them currently left open.   By the way, they also had eggs and grits (no hashbrowns) for breakfast 24 hours a day.   Now that restaurants call the little hamburgers "sliders" I wonder if there are any restaurants in your area that serves these little hamburgers (sliders).   Let me know (especially if you have ever eaten at a Royal Castle).  I will wrap up this blog because I know that it has been a long one.  I will leave you with one piece of advice, Girls, when a guy says that he is going to take you to a steakhouse and he uses initials instead of a name (RC steakhouse, BK steakhouse), don't get dressed too fancy.   Have a great day.    Lew
p.s.   Yes, I found the movie Psycho very scary.   But I didn't need to see the nurse in the lobby.

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