Nearly everyone over the age of 40 who grew up in the Washington, D.C. area must recall either eating at or driving by a Hot Shoppes restaurant. The brainchild of J. Willard Marriott, Hot Shoppes featured family-style comfort food, such as burgers, meatloaf, steaks, soups, fries, milkshakes, and numerous desserts.
Before becoming a hotel baron, J. Willard Marriott was a restauranteur. In 1927 he, his wife Alice, and a friend opened the first Hot Shoppe, a small A&W Root Beer stand in Washington, D.C. Later Hot Shoppes restaurants were sit-down full-service family eateries, complete with a drive-in lane for curbside meals. During the chain’s heyday in the early 1960s there were more than 70 Hot Shoppes restaurants and cafeterias up and down the East Coast from Philadelphia, Pennsylvania to Greensboro, North Carolina. Hot Shoppes also provided food service to airlines, hospitals, apartment buildings, and highway rest areas in this region.
Marriott began its exit from the restaurant business in the late 1980s, as it slowly began liquidating its Hot Shoppes brand. The last Hot Shoppes restaurants finally closed down in the weeks before the Millennium.
Oliver Atkins of Fairfax, Virginia was Washington Photography Correspondent for the Saturday Evening Post during the years 1946-1968. These photos were taken by Atkins in 1948 for a story about Marriott entitled “Good Mormons Don’t Go Broke” (Saturday Evening Post, June 10, 1950 pp. 48-49). The images may be found in SC&A‘s Oliver F Atkins Photograph Collection.
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