Gone but not forgotten: the Glasgow restaurants and cafes we all grew up with

This week we take a look back at some of the most fondly-recalled Glasgow eateries, and why they’re no longer with us.

Dino Ferrari’s

The shock announcement of its closure sparked a petition to save it, but sadly Dino’s on Sauchiehall Street is no more. The Scots Italian-owned restaurant was something of a Glasgow institution having been a feature of the city centre for nearly 50 years. Dino’s was named after its original proprietor, Mr Dino Baldi, who began serving pizza and pasta on Buchanan Street in 1966.

Shortly after, the business was relocated to 10 Sauchiehall Street, taking over the popular Ferrari’s restaurant, before moving again to occupy no’s 25-41 Sauchiehall Street, on the former site of the Empire Theatre. Dino’s thrived on its new spot for the next 3 decades, becoming a Sauchiehall Street landmark in the process.

The Italian eatery, which offered both takeaway and sit-in options, left its regular diners stunned two years ago when it was announced that it was to close for good to be replaced by a new Halifax branch.

A frenzy ensued to save the much-loved restaurant from the clutches of the corporations, but as it turned out, then owner, 72-year-old Alfredo Crolla had simply wished to retire, the bank’s offer proving too good to refuse.

Dino Ferrari

Dino Ferrari’s on Sauchiehall Street. Picture: Contributed

Buck Rogers Burger Station

British cities were once awash with themed pubs and eateries. Glasgow was no different, boasting the likes of the Star Wars-themed Jedi Bar, which closed in 2002, and the inventively-titled Muscular Arms, a pub which celebrated popular superheroes.

However, perhaps the most memorable was Queen Street’s Buck Rogers Burger Station, themed on the hit NBC TV series which ran from 1979 to 1981. Opened by the city’s Lord Provost in November 1982, the Burger Station was designed to whisk its patrons directly into the 25th century. Diminutive robots and buxom alien waitresses served the food and drinks and all manner of space age bleeps emanated from the futuristic furnishings.

The TV series itself was projected on to large screens and played on a continuous loop while you enjoyed your meal. Most commonly referred to as ‘The Buck Rogers Bar’, the premises of the sci-fi themed eatery later became one of the city’s best-known nightclubs, Archaos.

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Queen Street’s Buck Rogers Burger Station. Picture: Contributed

Kings Cafe

After an incredible 117 years in operation, the landmark Kings Cafe on Elmbank Street shut its doors earlier this year. Established in 1898 when Queen Victoria was nearing the end of her long reign, it was the oldest-surviving cafe in the city, and forged close links to the nearby King’s Theatre when it opened in 1904.

Theatregoers initially provided the bulk of its custom, but a 4am closing time in recent years saw the Kings Cafe become a regular stop for famished clubbers on the hunt for some affordable, late night nourishment. An increase in the number of takeaway outlets in the area hit the historic Kings Cafe badly and the much-loved eatery closed its doors for the final time.

Burger bar, Steak, Cattle & Roll, has since taken over, however, the new owners, clearly mindful of the Kings Cafe’s heritage, have carefully retained a number of the original features. You’ll also still be able to fill your belly with chips and cheese at half past 3 on a Friday night. Peter Capaldi, confirmed as a Kings Cafe regular, will be delighted.

The Danish Food Centre

The Danish Food Centre on St Vincent Street offered up a veritable smorgasbord of Dansk culinary delights for Glaswegian food lovers in the ‘70s and ‘80s. Opening in 1969, the Glasgow centre was the 3rd of its kind in the United Kingdom after London and Manchester, and a unique type of restaurant for its time, introducing Brits to a wide range of the best Danish grub.

As well as the restaurant, the centre also offered a couple of shops, one selling Danish art work and other goods, and the other a selection of Danish foodstuffs. The Danish Food Centre proved to be hugely popular in its early years and certainly ranks as one of the most fondly-recalled food establishments on our list.

The Grosvenor Café

It survives in name, but Ashton Lane’s Grosvenor Cafe has changed beyond recognition. Along with Gibson Street’s Spaghetti Factory (also gone and now Stravaigan restaurant), the Grosvenor, located a stone’s throw from the university, was a haunt for the city’s undergrads, musos, and celebs, attracting the likes of Orange Juice and Belle & Sebastian- who famously formed their band over a quiet cup of tea at the Grosvenor in 1996.

The Grosvenor’s cosy interior featured a number of wooden booths, which would, more often than not, lure you into engrossing conversation with complete strangers. After the original Grosvenor closed, Belle & Sebastian’s lead singer, Stuart Lee Murdoch reportedly saved one of the original booths and installed it in his kitchen.

The Grosvenor Cafe can now be found on the opposite side of the lane, incorporated within the Grosvenor Cinema, the city’s oldest-surviving picture house. Busy cocktail bar, Vodka Wodka now occupies the premises of the former cafe, but gone are the days of the Grovcoff (ice cream sprinkled with ground coffee) and pizzas topped with fried egg.

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Ashton Lane’s Grosvenor Cafe. Picture: Contributed

 

About The Author

David McLean

David McLean is the founder of the Lost Glasgow Facebook page

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