Jolly Joan, Portland Oregon 1940s
Jolly Joan, a full-service restaurant and sandwich shop in downtown Portland, Oregon, was renowned for the huge neon sign that hung above its location. This imaginative 1940s menu cover ( the artist's name is given only as Livingston) shows the sign in all its glory, towering over the other bright lights of downtown, complete with an ever-full steaming cup of coffee.
Established in the 1930s, Jolly Joan was reportedly the largest restaurant in the state and served over 6,000 customers every day.
Female servers and hat check girls wore uniforms – identical dresses complete with flower buttonholes, sensible shoes and ankle socks.
We found a fun anecdote online from a man who says his mother was a Jolly Joan Girl who met his father when she served him. He tipped her a penny, the son recalls, and his mother was impressed, thinking he might be a ‘rich guy,’ and later married him.
We haven’t yet been able to find out if there was an original Jolly Joan who started the company but as the business grew – thanks to the fact that Portland was a busy seaport with 600 manufacturing industries and lots of people wanting to eat out - it became a large corporation.
Jolly Joan closed sometime in the 1970s – we hope someone has preserved that wonderful neon sign.
Courtesy Private Collection.
Each order includes a print of the interior menu.
All printed in USA.