The Aristocratic, Vancouver, Canada 1952
This dapper little man in top hat, tuxedo and monocle was Ritsy, the mascot of The Aristocratic drive-in restaurant chain.
The idea for The Aristocratic was born in 1928 when baker Frank Hunter, who sold hamburger buns to diners, realized he could make bigger profits if he made whole hamburgers himself.
The Aristocratic was born and became a prestige restaurant drive-in chain in Vancouver, Canada with twelve locations operating between the 1930s and the 1960s. Ritsy was depicted in a striking 10ft high neon sign above the original restaurant with his arm going up and down and the light he was holding flashing on and off.
Of course, the Aristocratic name was a joke because these were not fancy places. One customer recalls a fearsome waitress with tattoos who ran the horseshoe-shaped counter at one of the Aristocrats. “If she liked you, she’d take a drag off your cigarette while she was running around serving coffee,’ the customer fondly recalled.
The Aristocratic fell victim to changing culinary tastes and locations began to close, with the last restaurant shutting down in 1983.
The Ritsy neon sign was saved as an historical artifact and donated to Vancouver Museum.
Courtesy Private Collection.
Each order includes a print of the interior menu.